Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Ex boyfriend spreading pictures

Last year I sent some pictures of me in my underwear to my boyfriend, and he has recently sent them round, what can I do? If I contact police will I be in trouble and will they tell my parents? I'm 15
Ask Sam


Hi there,

When you love or trust someone it can feel that it’s okay to send them a naked picture. Young people might want to sext someone because they really like them, feel pressured to, or feel forced to do it because of a threat from the other person. Sometimes it can also seem that everyone else is doing it.

It was wrong of your ex-boyfriend to send the pictures to anyone else. And it can be difficult to cope with sexting when it ends badly. It’s normal to feel ashamed, embarrassed and anxious about what people will say as something private has now become public. But there are things you can do to help.

If the picture is being shared in school, the school may be able to confiscate phones to make sure the picture is removed. To do this, you could speak to an adult that you trust, like a parent or a teacher. The sooner you tell someone, the easier it will be to stop the picture being shared.

If you contact the police, they'll want to help you. Anyone who has sexual images or videos of a person under 18 is breaking the law, even if both people are the same age. It's also against the law to forward these images or videos to others or post them online.

As you created the picture and sent it to your ex-boyfriend you have also technically broken the law. However, the police should deal with this sensitively and be interested in helping you. There are not many cases of the police prosecuting young people for sexting, but each force works differently. If you search online for “Police policy on sexting in…” and then the county you live in, you might find the policy for your local police. 

It's likely that the police will want to talk to your parents, so think about telling them first. You can contact the police by calling the non-emergency number 101.
If your picture is on the internet, the police or ChildLine can help you to get this removed through the Internet Watch Foundation. Contact a counsellor for help doing this if you need it. It’s not always possible and not easy to do, but it can sometimes work.

I understand how easily sexting can happen. It's always a good idea to think about why you want to send it, and what will happen to it once it's been sent. There are lots ways to impress someone, and  you can download the Zipit app for loads of great comebacks if someone asks you for a picture in future.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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