Democratic Republic of Congo takes vital step to remove child sexual abuse imagery from the internet by launching a public reporting system
The international children’s charity IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) will process the DRC’s reports of child sexual abuse images
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has today (16 June), on the Day of the African Child 2018, announced a new system for reporting child sexual abuse images and videos in partnership with international children’s charity, the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation).
The IWF, which is a world’s leading charity in identifying and removing online child sexual abuse imagery from the internet, is launching IWF reporting websites, known as Reporting Portals, in priority countries around the world.
As a priority country, the DRC will now have a safe and anonymous place for its citizens to report child sexual abuse images and videos if they stumble across them online.
Top organisations in the country have backed the move and committed their full support to cracking down on illegal images of children. The Portal has been announced on the Day of the African Child, a day which aims to raise awareness for the situation of children in African, to demonstrate the positive steps the DRC is making for children in the country.
During a roundtable meeting in March 2018, when stakeholders from the internet industry, government, NGOs and law enforcement came together to plan the Portal, the Minister of Gender, Madame Chantal Safu Lopusa sent a clear message that DRC would put children first, saying: “Children should be at the forefront of policies in the DRC”. Currently, 52% of the population are under the age of 18.
The DRC has become the fourth country to benefit from a prestigious international grant from the Fund to End Violence Against Children, which will fund the implementation of 30 Portals across the world, taking the total up to 48 by the end of 2020.
The Reporting Portal will keep internet users safe online and ensure the victims of child sexual abuse do not have to suffer the torment of having images of their abuse shared online again and again.
Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, said: “Our aim is two-fold. Firstly, we want to prevent victims of child sexual abuse from suffering further revictimisation, as offenders share disturbing images of their abuse. Secondly, we want to make the internet a safer place for all the DRC’s citizens, by providing them with a safe, anonymous place to report. It takes a global effort to make this happen, and we’re very grateful to the DRC for implementing the Reporting Portal to help protect children.”
Jenny Thornton, IWF International Development Manager, said: “With more than half the country’s population being children, it’s a hugely positive step forward to see stakeholders in the DRC coming together to tackle this online problem. The launch of this Reporting Portal just shows how hard everyone has worked. By giving citizens in the DRC a confidential place to report suspected illegal images they might see online, it means they can enjoy the freedom of the digital world with confidence.”