IWF calls for swift action to ensure laws to protect children’s safety online are not at risk

Published:  Thu 1 Dec 2022

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is urging Ministers to act swiftly and ensure world-leading legislation to protect children online is not put at risk by further Government delays.   

The Online Safety Bill is set to return to Parliament on Monday, December 5, for its final Report Stage but Government has now announced via a Written Ministerial Statement, published late last night (November 30), that a limited number of clauses in the Bill will go back to Public Bill Committee in the House of Commons for further consideration, before returning for another Report Stage and Third Reading in the House of Commons. 

This means that the House of Lords will have even less time to scrutinise the proposed legislation. The Bill could be dropped entirely if it does not receive Royal Assent by April next year.  

The IWF is the UK organisation responsible for finding and removing child sexual abuse from the internet. 

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation, said: “This Bill cannot fail. Children are suffering now. We urge MPs not to lose focus on that and to remember that children and child safety should remain at the core of this Bill. We must never forget that. 

“It is important that this legislation gets proper scrutiny, but we must not see a situation arise where years of hard work are wasted. 

“Timing has now become super critical. We have seen children are being targeted and coerced in their own bedrooms by criminal abusers into some of the worst abuse our analysts see, including penetrating themselves with household objects.  

“We also know, despite our successes making sure child sexual abuse material is not on UK servers, members of the public are still at risk of stumbling across horrendous abuse imagery hosted in other countries.”  

The Bill includes regulation of the tech industry to ensure that companies have in place systems and processes for combatting child sexual abuse material. Companies will have to work with law enforcement and other organisations to prevent the criminal content from spreading on their platforms. 

IWF welcomes Government commitment to keeping children safe online

IWF welcomes Government commitment to keeping children safe online

The IWF welcomes the Government's commitment to keeping children safe online

6 September 2023 Statement
The consequences of delaying the Online Safety Bill

The consequences of delaying the Online Safety Bill

The IWF says delaying the Online Safety Bill will see more children victimised and sexually abused amid fears the long-awaited legislation is set to suffer another delay.

26 October 2022 Statement
Fears for children as Online Safety Bill delayed

Fears for children as Online Safety Bill delayed

'With so much up in the air, we must never lose focus on the most vulnerable people in our society.'

14 July 2022 Statement