A sporting twist for a serious cause – working together to stop child sexual abuse online

Published:  Tue 6 Feb 2024

While we can’t reach into computer screens, tablets and mobile phones to stop abuse and to stop people targeting children online, we at the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) – through our mission to eliminate all online child sexual abuse imagery – do stand at the forefront of this battle, actively working to create a digital space free from child sexual abuse material.  

Our tireless efforts are supported by organisations and individuals alike, and one such champion in this cause is Pinsent Masons.

Partnering with Purpose 

Pinsent Masons, a leading multinational law firm recognised the urgency and significance of the IWF’s mission. In a powerful display of solidarity, they joined hands to host the Move for a Safer Internet challenge. This dynamic four-week campaign was designed not only to raise essential funds but also to raise awareness surrounding the IWF’s critical work. 

At the heart of this event lay the IWF Minute competition, an ingenious concept that ties directly to the IWF’s relentless efforts to remove criminal imagery from the internet. In 2022, the IWF assessed a webpage every one-and-a-half minutes, underlining the daunting scale of their task. The IWF Minute serves as a poignant reminder that every second counts in the fight against online child sexual abuse. 

Drawing inspiration from popular multi-sport activity platforms like Strava, Pinsent Masons ingeniously transformed the competition. Instead of focusing on distance, teams accrued minutes engaged in various sports. This approach allowed participants to unite in their commitment to the cause, transcending boundaries and promoting a sense of camaraderie. 

Teams, with a maximum size of 10, set up their own JustGiving pages, embarking on a mission to secure funds for their activities. As the minutes piled up, so did the funds, each effort making a tangible contribution supporting the IWF's vital work. The winning team not only earned a well-deserved trophy and Chilly’s water bottles but also a £25 Amazon voucher for each member. 

All the teams combined raised £11,120 with a donation to the winning team from Pinsent Masons of £5,000, making a total of £16,120.  The significance of these efforts cannot be overstated. A mere £50 could prevent the sharing or uploading of abusive images, while £100 could issue crucial Takedown Notices, shielding victims from repeat victimisation online. As the fundraising milestones increase, so does the potential for transformative change, from providing essential support to analysts to funding breakthroughs in combatting online threats. 

The Move for a Safer Internet event, powered by Pinsent Masons, exemplifies the potential of collective action. By infusing creativity, camaraderie, and competition into a noble cause, they have paved the way for others to follow suit. Organisations across the globe are now inspired to host events that not only raise funds but also ignite conversations, propelling the IWF's mission forward. 

Together, we can build a safer, more secure internet for generations to come.  

Join the movement, and let’s make a difference! 

Ellie Ludlam, Partner at Pinsent Masons
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