IWF supports calls to speed up online harms legislation

Published:  Fri 29 May 2020

The IWF is supporting calls for the Government to speed up the timetable on online harms legislation.

Today (29 May) the NSPCC has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to publicly commit to having world-leading online harms legislation on the statute book within 18 months.

The charity says it wants the Government to publish a roadmap that sets out the timescales for a “world-leading Bill” to go through Parliament as a matter of urgency.

In February, the IWF welcomed moves to make the internet a safer place for children as the Government announced is was “minded” to give Ofcom new regulatory powers to protect the public from online harms.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation, the UK charity responsible for finding and removing online child sexual abuse material said the IWF will work with all its partners to help protect children, but that action must be taken soon.

Ms Hargreaves said: “The length of time it is taking is leading to uncertainty for us all which stalls progress.

“We support calls for the Government to speed up the timetable for the introduction of the online harms legislation.

“We understand the current Covid-19 crisis was unforeseen and has impacted on the timetable for legislation, but a full response to the White Paper consultation is needed as soon as possible, especially with more children spending time online at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The speed with which we intervene will make a difference to keeping them safe. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government as the legislation develops in order that the framework builds on current best practice to get the right outcomes for children.”

Notes:

In 2019, the IWF removed millions of images and videos of child sexual abuse having processed a record 260,426 reports.

Of these reports, 132,676 contained images and/or videos of children being sexually abused. Every report could contain anything from one to thousands of images of videos of this abuse. The equates to millions of images and videos.

Images and videos of online child sexual abuse can be reported anonymously on the IWF’s reporting page at https://report.iwf.org.uk/en.

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