Sir Richard Tilt, IWF Board Chairman
What stands out, is the dramatic increase in the number of confirmed reports of illegal imagery, since we started actively searching for child sexual abuse images and videos. In 2013, the last complete year before we began actively searching, we recorded 13,182 URL’s (or individual webpages) that contained child sexual abuse imagery. In 2015, the first full year of actively searching for illegal images, we recorded 68,092 URL’s containing child sexual abuse images or videos. This is a fourfold increase – 417%
We’re proud of how hard we’ve worked. Today only 0.2% of the world’s known online child sexual abuse imagery is hosted in the UK. Back when we started, nearly twenty years ago, that figure was 18%.
Since then, our Hotline has taken and assessed over 660,000 reports from the public. Not all were reports of images or videos of child sexual abuse, but most were of concern to the public. It was our job to assess these and, where appropriate, help to remove any illegal images from the internet.
Of course, talking about “numbers of reports” can feel dispassionate but what we never forget is that behind each and every image there is a real child. In our report, we’ve talked to the charities that support and help protect the victims of sexual abuse. We also tell the stories of young people like Charlotte and Zara, who’ve been repeatedly victimised by having their abuse shared over and over again on the internet.
As Chair of the IWF, I can tell you that everyone at the IWF from the Board to the staff are all deeply committed doing whatever we can to rid the internet of this content. Not only because we want to make the internet a safer place for everyone, but most importantly because we’re determined to help the victims of child sexual abuse imagery.
This is an important time for us. We believe our Image Hash List will prove a real ‘game changer’ for our work and looking forward in our 20th anniversary year (2016), we’ve got ambitious plans to expand our team of analysts.
But child sexual abuse online imagery is a global problem, which demands a global solution. This is not something any organisation, or any country can tackle alone. So we’re working closely with our partners in the internet industry, law enforcement and government with the singular mission to eradicate child sexual abuse imagery online.
If you would like to read more, you can read our report in full here.