Fears for children as Online Safety Bill delayed

Published:  Thu 14 Jul 2022

The IWF has warned momentum must not be lost in the fight to protect children from predators and abusers online as key legislation suffers a delay in Parliament.

It has been reported that the Online Safety Bill, which had been due to be discussed in Parliament next week, will be pushed back until at least the autumn.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation, said: “This delay is very worrying and we know it is children who will suffer the most.

“With so much up in the air, we must never lose focus on the most vulnerable people in our society – the people this Bill ultimately is intended to help.

“Ensuring internet safety for all has been a manifesto commitment for the Government – with three general elections being won by a party promising to bring this legislation forward - and has considerable cross-party support.

“The pandemic has seen a disturbing 374% increase in the levels of “self-generated” material, where children have been groomed or coerced into abusing themselves on camera, often in their own homes, by internet predators.

“In 2019, IWF analysts took action to remove 38,424 URLs containing this kind of material. This shot up in 2021, when we confirmed 182,281 URLs contained these images or videos.

“We must make sure momentum is not lost in the fight to protect children from predators and abusers.”

Today (December 14) the Joint Committee published its report on the Government’s draft Online Safety Bill

Today (December 14) the Joint Committee published its report on the Government’s draft Online Safety Bill

The draft legislation aims to make the internet safer, and will establish Ofcom as a statutory regulator to enforce standards on a range of online harms including the availability and spread of child sexual abuse material.

14 December 2021 Statement
IWF welcomes new online safety rules but warns more still needs to be done to make sure children are safe online

IWF welcomes new online safety rules but warns more still needs to be done to make sure children are safe online

The Age Appropriate Design Code, which comes into effect today (September 2), sets out 15 standards that online services need to follow.

2 September 2021 Statement
IWF welcomes Apple’s 'promising' plans to scan devices for child sexual abuse material

IWF welcomes Apple’s 'promising' plans to scan devices for child sexual abuse material

' They have acknowledged that, while customers’ privacy must be respected and protected, it cannot be at the expense of children’s safety.'

6 August 2021 Statement