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The COPINE Scale is a tool used in determining the "severity" of Indecent images of children in the UK. Originally developed for use in academia, this scale was recommended as the standard method of grading images in August 2002 by the Sentencing Advisory Panel. Other scales such as the Sexual Offences Definitive Guideline scale (2014) exist.


1. Images depicting nudity or erotic posing, with no sexual activity.

  • Nudist (naked or semi-naked in posing, with no sexual activity legitimate setting/sources)
  • Erotica (surreptitious photographs showing underwear/nakedness)
  • Posing (deliberate posing suggesting sexual content)
  • Erotic posing (deliberate sexual or provocative poses)
  • Explicit erotic posing (emphasis on genital area)

2. Sexual activity between children, solo masturbation by a child.

  • Explicit sexual activity not involving children.

3. Non-penetrative sexual activity between child(ren) and adult(s).

  • Assault (sexual assault involving an adult)

4. Penetrative sexual activity between child(ren) and adult(s).

  • Gross assault (penetrative assault involving an adult)

5. Sadism or Bestiality between child(ren) and adult(s).

  • Sadistic/bestiality (sexual images involving physical pain or animals)[1]

The scale used for sentencing is slightly different, but still retains the key concepts articulated in the COPINE version.


Wikipedia - COPINE and its more recent reincarnations.