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EU grant for child protection online amid fears for future funding

The UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) has received welcome confirmation that its application to the EU Connecting Europe Facility fund has been successful.

The grant of Euros 2,462,866 for January 2019-December 2020 goes to the partnership of three leading UK not-for-profit organisations – Childnet International, the Internet Watch Foundation, and SWGfL – whose joint mission is to help keep children and young people safe online. 

Speaking for the UKSIC partnership, the Internet Watch Foundation CEO and UKSIC Director Susie Hargreaves OBE, said: “We’re delighted that our application has been successful. With Brexit on the horizon, funding was far from assured, and we thank the Commission for helping the UK Safer Internet Centre continue its vital work of making the UK one of the safest places to be online.”

“However, it’s a reprieve not a guarantee. With no replacement funding so far offered by the UK government, we’re extremely concerned for the UK Safer Internet Centre when the grant comes to an end in 2020. Without this support many children and teenagers will be put at risk in a digital world which holds peril as well as opportunity.”

The UK Safer Internet Centre exists to promote responsible use of technology among young people.  Collectively, the partnership delivers the annual UK Safer Internet Day, which will be marked globally on February 5th 2019.

The partnership was appointed by the European Commission as the Safer Internet Centre for the UK in January 2011. Its chief functions are to offer an awareness centre giving advice to children and their parents, guardians and schools; to provide a helpline for professionals on internet safety issues, and a hotline for reporting child sexual abuse imagery and videos online.  

The grant is broken down with 1,093.437 Euros going to the Internet Watch Foundation; 769,794 Euros going to the SWGfL; and Childnet receiving 599,635 Euros.

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