Award 'testament to hard work of staff' as IWF campaigns to warn parents and children about online grooming

Published:  Mon 18 Oct 2021

The Internet Watch Foundation is pleased to be among the winners of the Digital Communication Awards 2021.

The IWF has taken the top prize in the DCA's Purpose Driven Communications (Covid 19) category for its work campaigning to raise awareness of the rise of “self-generated” child sexual abuse material.

The Gurls out Loud campaign, aimed at teenage girls, and the Home Truths campaign, aimed at parents, set out to address the startling increase in reports of self-generated sexual abuse imagery of children – predominantly 11 to 13-year-old girls – who have often been targeted by predators in their own bedrooms.

Throughout 2020, self-generated imagery accounted for nearly half (44%) of the total content the IWF sought removal for.

The campaigns have had a particular importance during the Covid pandemic, during which more children, and more sexual predators, have been spending longer online, putting children at greater risk of grooming and sexual abuse.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “This award really is testament to the hard work of all our staff during the pandemic

“It is clear that sexual predators exploited the coronavirus pandemic to contact and abuse children online, and 2020 was a record year for the number of reports of child sexual abuse material we dealt with, and the amount of criminal material we worked to have removed.

“Our campaigning has taken our work to the next level. We want to empower children, particularly young girls, to stand up to internet sex predators and call them out for what they are. Being on the receiving end of bullying and blackmail can be a very lonely place.

“For parents, we know one good quality conversation about the potential dangers online can make all the difference. We hope these campaigns have sparked important conversations in households everywhere.”

The IWF’s campaign ranked as one of the best of over 400 applications and was chosen as a winner by DCA jury members.

A full list of winners can be found here: https://www.digital-awards.eu/best-of-2021/

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