UNiTE to end violence against girls on Orange Day

Published:  Fri 22 May 2015

Orange Day calls upon activists, governments and UN partners to mobilise people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month. This month (25 May 2015) focuses on using technology to prevent violence against women and girls.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) fully supports this campaign as the UK Hotline for reporting online criminal content, but predominately online images and videos of child sexual abuse worldwide. Statistics released in the IWF 2014 Annual Report show that a staggering 80% of the victims seen in the 31,266 child sexual abuse URLs we removed in 2014, were girls. These young girls are victims from all over the world, subjected to the most unimaginable abuse.

The IWF and its 115 Member organisations recognise the important role the tech community plays in harnessing its products and services to end violence against women and girls. Additional funding from IWF Members, funded the recruitment of six new analysts to increase resources and ramp up our efforts in removing this illegal and damaging content from the internet. With more analysts, and a new tactic introduced in April 2014 to proactively seek-out the content, the IWF was able to remove an incredible 137% more child sexual abuse URLs than in 2013. Also, a pilot project is underway where the unique hash values of hundreds of thousands of known child sexual abuse images identified by the IWF will be used by IWF Members including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo! to prevent these images being shared on their services.

Furthermore, IWF is supporting the newly established national Child Sexual Abuse Database (CAID), which will be used by UK law enforcement to improve efficiency and speed up investigations into child sexual abuse both on and offline. The IWF believes the fight against online child sexual abuse imagery, and ending violence against women and girls, finds strength in global partnerships, and this is why we have created the IWF Portal. The Portal is our international reporting solution, providing countries across the world with a means of utilising the IWF Hotline facilities immediately, and at a fraction of the cost. These are just some of the ways the IWF is using technology to end violence against women and girls worldwide.

Susie Hargreaves, IWF CEO, said: “We know that both boys and girls are victims of sexual abuse, but our most recent statistics show that a huge majority of online child sexual abuse material depicts the abuse of girls. Everyone here at the IWF is committed to eliminating online child sexual abuse imagery, and that is why we are supporting the UN Secretary General’s Campaign UNiTE. Our industry Members work closely with us to ensure their technology services prevent the distribution of, and access to child sexual abuse imagery. In doing so, the young girls of the world who appear in these awful images and videos, are prevented from revictimisation.

To find out more about the UNiTE campaign and how you too can support, go to the website.

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