The IWF welcomes new Government strategy to tackle child sexual abuse

Published:  Fri 22 Jan 2021

The IWF has welcomed the Government’s strategy to tackle child sexual abuse after a record-breaking year sees IWF analysts remove more illegal content from the internet than ever before.

Today, the UK Government has published its national strategy to protect children from all forms of child sexual abuse.

The Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy sets out how the Government will use new legislation and enhanced technology to stop offenders.

The Home Office say there will be investment in the UK’s Child Abuse Image Database (CAID) to help identify and catch more offenders quicker.

The Home Office say they will also make it easier for parents and carers to ask the police if someone has a criminal record for child sexual offences as the department commits to a review of Sarah’s Law.

The Government also says it will introduce measures under the Online Safety Bill to help keep children safe on the internet.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation, said: “We welcome the Government’s focus on tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation, particularly online.

“We have seen first-hand how this threat has risen in the past year, with increases in online child sexual abuse material coinciding with more people spending longer at home on the internet - due in part to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“In 2020, we removed more criminal videos and images of children than ever before. It is vitally important that we prevent child sexual abuse from taking place, and that videos and images of that abuse are eradicated from the internet.

“It is important that we not only look at the online element of these crimes but the impact that it also has on communities. We welcome the strategy’s focus on the importance of safeguarding children from sexual abuse whether that be online or offline.

“At the IWF, we are committed to working with the Government, industry and the third sector to play our part in removing child sexual abuse material from the internet and providing tools and services to companies to keep the internet safer. We will continue working to make the UK the safest place in the world to go online.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have told me how they feel let down by the state. I am determined to put this right.

“This first-of-its-kind national Strategy will tackle and respond to all forms of child sexual abuse, relentlessly going after abusers, whilst better protecting victims and survivors.”

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