Young girl with code overlaid

IWF Annual Report 2021

In 2021, we assessed a webpage every one-and-a-half minutes. Every two minutes, that webpage showed a child being sexually abused.

In 2021, we assessed 361,062 reports and 7 in 10 (252,194 reports) of those led us to finding imagery online of children being sexually abused. 

Our 2021 Annual Report shows that sexual abuse imagery of girls is increasingly being shared online with almost all (97%) child sexual abuse material identified in 2021 showing female children. 

Other key findings from the report show:

  • In 2021 the IWF took action to remove a record-breaking 252,000 URLs which it confirmed contained images or videos of children being raped and/or suffering sexual abuse.
  • Of these, 182,281 URLs contained images or videos of “self-generated” material. This is a 374% increase on pre-pandemic levels when, in 2019, analysts took action to remove 38,424 URLs containing self-generated material.
  • Sexual abuse imagery of children aged 11-13 is most prevalent, accounting for almost seven in 10 instances identified last year.
  • Whilst just 1% of the sexual abuse imagery shows boys, this accounts for 2,641 instances. In more than half of these cases (53%) the boy was suffering category A sexual abuse which is penetrative sexual activity, sexual activity with an animal or sadism. By comparison, 17% of the sexual abuse imagery of girls shows category A activities.

View the full report here

361,026 Number of reports assessed by IWF in 2021
252194 Number of reports confirmed to show child sexual abuse imagery in 2021

Marking 25 years of combatting child sexual abuse

Since 1996, the IWF has worked tirelessly to fight for victims of child sexual abuse by tracking down and removing images of their suffering from the global internet. 

Thanks to our unique and growing relationship with the tech industry, law enforcement and international non-profits, we're proud to be able to say we're one of the leading expert organisations in the field of locating criminal content and removing it to protect survivors and make the internet a safer place for everyone. 

Find out more about our 25th Anniversary.

1,800,000 reports have been assessed by IWF analysts over 25 years
970000 Child sexual abuse reports have been actioned for removal in 25 years

As each report contains at least one, and sometimes thousands of images, this equates to millions of criminal images removed from the internet.

See Annual Reports from previous years in our archive

View our 2021 Annual Report

Our 25th Anniversary
Our Annual Report press release