Media guidelines



The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

Use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse. 

Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.

The National Office for Child Safety

The National Office for Child Safety commissioned the University of Canberra News and Media Research Centre to develop evidence‑based media guides to encourage responsible reporting on child sexual abuse and support victims and survivors engaging with the media.

The key aim of these resources is to promote reporting that raises community awareness of child sexual abuse, reduces stigma, and empowers victims and survivors when they share their personal experiences with the media. 

Reporting on child sexual abuse -Guidance for media
Engaging with media about child sexual abuse for victims and survivors