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About Us

Working to stop child sexual abuse online

Protecting children is at the heart of everything we do. For over 25 years, since the early days of the internet, our job has been to help child victims of sexual abuse by hunting down and removing any online record of the abuse.

It’s a tough job. Our image analysts are amongst the best in the world. The children in the pictures are real. Their abuse and suffering is very real. Our experts never forget that.

The criminals who sexually abuse children, then record their suffering and share the horror online are ruthless. Sometimes they create images with audiences in mind. Victims range from babies to young teens. Abusers are often experienced at online grooming, skilled at manipulating young minds. Sometimes victims don’t even realise they are being abused until it’s too late.

Sadly, the internet makes it easier to share these images. We use advanced technology and human expertise to help young victims. If we can remove the record of suffering online and stop those images circulating, then we can stop the abuse being perpetuated. This makes the internet a safer place for all children and adults.

The children in the pictures are real. Their abuse and suffering is very real. Our experts never forget that.

How we do this

  • Tech-for-good. We build cutting-edge tech tools designed to make it easier to identify and remove online images and videos of child sexual abuse. In short, tech to protect kids.
  • Our team of human analysts. Tech companies and law enforcement worldwide trust the assessments, experience and knowledge of our extraordinary team of people.
  • Working together. With international partners in government, law enforcement, reporting hotlines, charities and the tech community we work to stop illegal images of children being circulated again and again. We share vital information that could lead to the rescue of a child from terrible abuse.
  • IWF Hotline. This gives people a safe and anonymous place to report suspected online images and videos showing the sexual abuse of children. When we started in 1996, 18 per cent of child sexual abuse imagery online was hosted in the UK. Today, thanks to our Hotline, it’s less than one per cent. We’re proud of that.

We are an independent not-for-profit organisation. Tech companies, our ‘Members’, companies and the public fund our work. Our donors are extraordinary people who care about keeping children safe online. They’re our IWF heroes.

Our experience and data is unique. We use this expertise to help governments shape new laws, laws that will benefit victims of child sexual abuse and give the best possible protection to children online. Our Policy Team is supported by IWF Champions, UK Members of Parliament who have signed-up to help spread the word about protecting children online.

We also run public campaigns, to help share our learning. Encouraging teenage boys who might have accidently stumbled on child abuse images to report to our Hotline, or helping parents have difficult conversations with their children about staying safe online are important messages for people.

At IWF we recognise online child sexual abuse imagery is a global problem, which demands a global solution. So, we’ve taken our fight to countries without anywhere to report online child sexual abuse. Working in partnership with local people, we provide scaled down Reporting Portals which feed directly to our expert analysts in the UK. Today we have nearly 50 of these portals.

It’s all part of our mission to help victims of child sexual abuse worldwide, by identifying and removing the online record of their abuse. If you share our vision, why not consider making a donation, or if you represent a company, take a look at memberships and partnerships. 

We use the term child sexual abuse to reflect the gravity of the images and videos we deal with. 'Child pornography', 'child porn' and 'kiddie porn' are not acceptable descriptions. A child cannot consent to their own abuse.

Contribute to our work

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Children

Why we exist

Why the Internet Watch Foundation exists, what it what set up to do, and how it does it.

IWF Analysts working at a computer

How we assess and remove content

The processes IWF use to assess child sexual abuse imagery online and have it removed from the internet.

Three people sitting on sofas

Who we are

The IWF is made up of a team of over 50 diverse team members working in a variety of disciplines including our team of front-line analysts.

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Our international work

How we work internationally to tackle online child sexual abuse imagery at a global scale.

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IWF campaigns

Current and previous campaigns run by the IWF to raise awareness of and prevent child sexual abuse online.

Our latest news

New European proposals show 'welcome determination to front up to criminals' abusing and exploiting children online

New European proposals show 'welcome determination to front up to criminals' abusing and exploiting children online

On May 11, the European Commission announced its new European strategy for laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse.

12 May 2022 News
Calls for focus on prevention as Europe still hosting 'horrible numbers' of child sexual abuse sites

Calls for focus on prevention as Europe still hosting 'horrible numbers' of child sexual abuse sites

The IWF was in Brussels to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the IWF and to discuss forthcoming EU legislation to tackle Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.

5 May 2022 News
Europe remains ‘global hub’ for hosting of online child sexual abuse material

Europe remains ‘global hub’ for hosting of online child sexual abuse material

Despite efforts to curb the amount of child sexual abuse material hosted on the continent, Europe remains the ‘destination of choice’ for criminals and predators determined to host criminal content.

26 April 2022 News
Sexual abuse imagery of girls online at record high following pandemic lockdowns

Sexual abuse imagery of girls online at record high following pandemic lockdowns

New data published by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) shows girls are at increasing risk online. The Online Safety Bill is a once in a generation chance to offer better protection for children.

26 April 2022 News
The US now hosts more child sexual abuse material online than any other country

The US now hosts more child sexual abuse material online than any other country

Experts predict that without new legislation, the problem will only grow.

26 April 2022 IWF In The News
The US Saw a Spike in Child Sexual Abuse URLs in 2021

The US Saw a Spike in Child Sexual Abuse URLs in 2021

CSAM hosting around the world rose 64 percent last year, and a surge in the United States put it second behind the Netherlands, a new report found.

25 April 2022 IWF In The News