Charities join forces for child sexual abuse study

Published:  Mon 21 Jan 2013

The Internet Watch Foundation and the Lucy Faithfull Foundation are embarking on a project to understand sex offenders’ internet habits when viewing online child sexual abuse material.

The study is possible thanks to a grant from the International Foundation For Online Responsibility (IFFOR).

The qualitative research project will see one to one interviews conducted with 10 offenders who are taking part in Lucy Faithfull Foundation’s Inform+ programme. Supported by police forces from across the country, the programme is a 10-week educative course for those arrested, cautioned or convicted for offences involving indecent images of children. Alongside an exploration of past offending behaviour, sessions support offenders and their families to ensure responsible and legal online behaviour in the present and future.  

The purpose of the research study is to better understand what prompted offenders to begin viewing indecent images of children; how their illegal behaviour developed over time; how they maintained their illegal behaviour; how it impacted on their day-to-day lives and how they are managing this behaviour at present.

Initial results will be available from the end of March.

This study will enable Lucy Faithfull Foundation to understand and monitor ex-offenders’ online behaviour as well as improving their services and programmes, with the ultimate aim of helping them achieve an offence-free lifestyle.

Susie Hargreaves, IWF CEO said: “It’s a natural choice to team up with Lucy Faithfull Foundation which has years of experience and expertise in dealing with online offenders.

“Thanks to this grant, we hope the findings will lead to us to developing new and improved services to protect online users and remove child sexual abuse material from the internet.”

Donald Findlater, Director of Research and Development with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation said: “As a child protection charity, we know that children are better protected if we understand how offenders operate and apply that knowledge.

“It is exciting to be embarking on this important research in partnership with colleagues from IWF, with the vital insights they bring. I am also delighted that IFFOR see the importance of this research area and are so supportive of our joint work.

“I have no doubt the research, once published, will help not only ourselves but others in child protection to keep children that bit safer.”



Contact: Emma Lowther, IWF Director of Communications on +44 (0) 1223 203030 or +44 (0) 7929 553 679 or

Or Deborah Denis, Media and Communications Manager at Lucy Faithfull Foundation on +44 (0) 1372 847160

About the Internet Watch Foundation

The IWF was established in 1996 by the internet industry to provide the UK internet Hotline for the public and IT professionals to report criminal online content in a secure and confidential way. The Hotline service can be used anonymously to report content within our remit:

•    child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world;
•    criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK;
•    non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK.

For more information please visit

To be kept up to date with the IWF’s activities throughout the year you can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About Lucy Faithfull Foundation

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation Opens in New Window (LFF) is the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to reducing the risk of children being sexually abused. We work with entire families that have been affected by abuse including: adult male and female sexual abusers; young people with inappropriate sexual behaviours; victims of abuse and other family members.

Drawing on our expert knowledge about child sexual abuse we offer a broad range of services for professionals and members of the public. These include: assessments, intervention and treatment of known offenders, case specific advice and support, training and development courses and workshops, educational programmes for internet offenders and their families, circles of support and accountability and internet safety seminars for schools (teachers, parents and children).


The International Foundation for Online Responsibility Opens in New Window (IFFOR) is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to developing policies for Top Level Domains that maximize benefit to global Internet users, domain holders and domain registry operators.

Baseline Policies developed by IFFOR are specifically designed to establish a global standard in combating sexual child abuse images, providing effective parental control, ensuring accurate domain registration information, and protecting the privacy, security, and consumer rights of all internet users.


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