The IWF stands in support of two new campaigns fighting to protect children online

Published:  Wed 22 Feb 2023

On the European Day for Victims of Crime, the Internet Watch Foundation is proudly adding its name in support of two new major campaigns that focus on improving the response to child sexual abuse in the European Union.

The first campaign sees the launch of a public petition in support of greater action to tackle child sexual abuse in the European Union. It is hosted by the Justice Initiative, a Swiss organisation that aims to represent the truth about the scale and nature of child sexual abuse, gain official recognition for the suffering these crimes cause, encourages prevention and campaigns for reparations.

The petition was officially launched at the National Assembly in Paris this morning (February 22) and has secured the backing and support of the former French President, Francois Hollande. Other speakers at this morning’s event included German MEP and Member of the European Parliament’s influential committee on Internal Markets (IMCO), Marion Walsmann, Mie Kohiyama, Co-Chair of the #BeBraveEurope movement and working group co-founder of @BeBraveFrance, and Sebastien Moras, Head of Corporate Affairs for Europol.

The second campaign, Right In Front of Us (#ChildSafetyOn), also launching today, has the support of 13 organisations dedicated to tackling child sexual abuse including, Missing Children Europe, Terres De Hommes, ECPAT International, the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, the NSPCC and WePROTECT, and encourages the promotion of online safety and child rights online, particularly in schools and with teachers.

The campaign aims at raising awareness of the extent of online child sexual abuse in European Union member states, as research from the WePROTECT Global Alliance’s impact assessment of more than 5,000 18 to 20-year-olds in 54 countries worldwide estimates, that in a class size of 20 children, 13 may have suffered some form of sexual abuse.

The aim of these two campaigns is to encourage support for new proposals currently before the European Parliament and European Council, which are entitled “Laying down new rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse.” The proposal would create a new EU Centre to tackle child sexual abuse, which would provide greater support to victims and require technology companies to take action to tackle child sexual abuse on their platforms.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, CEO of IWF said: “Today is a hugely important day for those who have been victims and survivors of some of the most heinous crimes imaginable. On a daily basis our analysts here at the IWF see children grow up in the images of their abuse online and we are fully supportive of efforts to raise awareness of this abhorrent crime. We stand with the victims of these crimes today, and every day, in ensuring the response remains a political and social priority.”

“We want to encourage members of the public to add their voice and support to the public campaign launched by the Justice Initiative today and follow the lead of those politicians who have assembled in Paris today in support of their calls.”

“At IWF we have always worked to raise awareness of the issue of child sexual abuse in the UK, by highlighting the scale and nature of the threat posed by offenders and predators and now we want to further that in Europe. We would encourage teachers to use the resources made available today to highlight the online dangers, to start a conversation in their staff room and amongst their peers.”

“We are also encouraging parents to wake up to the threat the internet poses to their children. If we do not secure this new legislation to protect children online in Europe, children will be worse off, and we mustn’t allow that to happen. We need your help in making the case to policy makers.”

Catherine Brown named as new IWF Chair

Catherine Brown named as new IWF Chair

Ms Brown will take over from Andrew Puddephatt OBE, who has held the post since 2017.

27 November 2023 News
Discord steps up bid to rid internet of ‘appalling’ child sexual abuse imagery

Discord steps up bid to rid internet of ‘appalling’ child sexual abuse imagery

‘There can be no safe place for these criminals to operate. Children deserve a safer and happier internet.’

21 November 2023 News
New tool allows police around the world to scan for known abuse imagery in 'seconds'

New tool allows police around the world to scan for known abuse imagery in 'seconds'

'This is an important step in ensuring our world-leading expertise can be quickly drawn upon by police and law enforcement the world over.'

20 November 2023 News