Home Secretary's foreword

The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP


The UK is determined to be the safest place in the world to be online. We are resolutely committed to tackling abhorrent online child sexual abuse, working with industry and civil society in the UK and worldwide.    

This report is sobering reading and underlines the vital importance of the IWF’s work, removing a record-breaking amount of child sexual abuse imagery in 2023. The exploitation and grooming of children under 10 years old has increased to an alarming extent. This includes the abusive manipulation of children into producing “self-generated” material, of the most serious, horrendous nature.   

2023 saw the passing of the UK’s Online Safety Act – a landmark piece of legislation. It places rigorous safety duties on platforms to prevent child sexual abuse and make children safer when using their services. This is a huge step forward. But there is more to do, and the tireless IWF is fundamental to further efforts to tackle more growing threats. Companies moving towards privacy enhancing technology, without sufficient safety measures in place, presents an existential risk to the detection of the most disgusting child abuse on [its] services. The rise in AI-generated child sexual abuse material brings further challenges – and the IWF has been at the heart of efforts across government, civil society and industry to them.  

I am profoundly grateful for the expertise and courage of the staff of the IWF. This is not a pleasant world in which to immerse oneself, but it is work of infinite value.  There is nothing more important than keeping our children safe.