The Internet Watch Foundation and Everton Football Club have been nominated for three prestigious awards for their joint campaign, See It, Report It, which educates young men about how to stay safe online.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an independent not-for-profit organisation which works to remove images of child sexual abuse from the internet, partnered with Everton in August this year and held 30 bespoke workshops across Everton Football Club’s youth teams and wider footballing community. Due to its success, the See It, Report It campaign has been developed into a suite of workshops available to any sports club called Game On.
The workshops aimed to help young men take responsibility for their sexual behaviour and to understand the impact on others, increase awareness of how to report child sexual abuse material to the IWF Hotline, help young men develop an understanding of what is legal and illegal sexual behaviour, and help them understand how to keep themselves safe online.
The target audience of the campaign was men aged 16 to 24 - research has shown this group is most likely to stumble across online child sexual abuse images and videos and least likely to report it.
The campaign has now been nominated for the Innovation Award at the Football Business Awards on 2 November, as well as an award for the Best Club Marketing Sponsors and Engagement at the Northwest Football Awards on 13 November. Lastly, it is up for Best Partnership at the CorpComms Magazine Awards on 23 November.
Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, said: “These award nominations show the huge impact the Game On workshops had on the young men who took part.
“If young men are the group most likely to stumble across this imagery then awareness among this group is essential, and that is where these workshops have succeeded. There was an extensive amount of independent evaluation following this campaign. It found that if a young man has heard of IWF, and know what we do, then he is more likely to report child sexual abuse material if he accidentally sees this while on the internet.
“Our goal to educate these young players to keep cyber-safe for their own wellbeing has also been a real success and we are so thrilled to have been nominated for the three awards.
“Working with Everton has been amazing, they’ve been pioneers in online safety education. The support Everton has across the globe has the potential to influence tens of thousands of young men so we’re really grateful to them for their unwavering support.”
The workshops were part of the wider ‘See it, Report It’ campaign aimed at all young men across the country, which included a themed match day at Everton, flyers, posters, social media and campaign videos.
A recent anonymous reporter to the IWF credits the campaign for his decision to report what he saw online: “came across this webpage, pictures of underage girls needs to removed (sic). Instead of just closing the page I thought I would report the incident instead from a campaign by Everton Football Club. Thanks, [name redacted]”.
Adam Green, Head of Safeguarding at Everton Football Club, said: “There is a stigma around sensitive issues like this but we are not afraid to take the lead in the world of football to help promote positive and educational safety messages to both our fans and the wider community. It is great to hear that online content is being reported to IWF as a result of the campaign.”
The Game On project has been supported by an Advisory Board made up from leading charities and online safety experts. Following the successful pilot campaign with Everton, the workshops are now available for any groups across the country to take part, for all young people aged 11 to 24. Go to https://gameon.iwf.org.uk/ to find out more. To read more about the See It, Report It campaign, go to https://evertonfc.iwf.org.uk