Belgian Legislation

What does the Belgian legislation say?

For the fight against child pornography on the Internet in Belgium, Articles 380ter and 383bis of the Belgian Penal Code apply.

Since 1995, criminal legislation has created a separate article for ‘child pornography’. More specifically, acquiring, knowingly providing access to, possessing and distributing images of sexual abuse of minors constitute criminal offences.

What actions are classified as criminal under Belgian criminal law?

Acquiring, knowingly providing access to, possessing and distributing images of sexual abuse of minors constitute criminal offences under Article 383bis of the Penal Code. It is important to note that whether a minor is actually involved is of no importance. Even if the images only suggest that the subjects are minors, they may still be child pornography, and the same is true of drawings or computer-generated images.

Article 383bis of the Penal Code only relates to ‘visual’ depictions. Songs or texts of a child-pornographic nature are not covered by this article; however, they can be assessed through Article 383 of the Penal Code.

Finally Article 380ter of the Penal Code makes advertising and/or distributing child-pornographic material aimed at minors or alluding to services offered by minors criminal offences.

Possessing and knowingly providing access to child-pornographic material are criminal offences. If you stumble across them accidentally, you will not be punished. There must have been a deliberate intention to look at child pornography.