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Internet charity work recognised as ‘exceptional’ with prestigious award

The Internet Watch Foundation honoured for its child protection in cyberspace

Charity Awards

Civil Society Media has honoured IWF staff in its annual awards programme - set up to recognise and reward ‘exceptional work’ in all areas of charitable activity.

The IWF scooped the top prize in the Children & Youth category of this year’s charity awards.  

The cutting-edge operation of the Cambridge-based charity was noted by the panel. Awards judge Jehangir Malik said the work of IWF was “very timely, in a horrific area which is otherwise uncharted in the charity space” and the judges were impressed by the strong psychological support the charity provided to its staff.

The charity employs a world-class team of Internet Content Analysts whose work involves detecting and removing online images of sexual attacks on children. The analysts never forget that such material shows a real child suffering real abuse. Not only do the victims have to live with the memory of the abuse itself, they also know that at any time and in any place, others could also be looking at the images.

IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves OBE, said: “We’re staffed by an incredibly dedicated and compassionate team of people who make it their mission to help remove the images which can haunt for life a child who’s been sexually abused. We’re delighted to receive such recognition for our work.”

To tackle the burgeoning global problem, in 2018 IWF increased investment in training and welfare support for its analysts, helping them become even more effective in removing criminal pictures and videos. Because of the extreme material they see daily, they receive unique support. The charity also continually develops new technologies to help hunt out material and prevent it from being shared.

The Charity Awards, held in the precincts of the Tower of London, were judged by a panel of voluntary sector heavyweights, each a leader in their own field with years of experience of managing civil society organisations. The judges assess each entry against ‘Hallmarks of Excellence’ – attributes that should mark any successful project. 

Last year, IWF analysts assessed a webpage every two minutes. Almost 230,000 reports were assessed, with an overwhelming 105,047 URLs confirmed as containing child sexual abuse material – a jump of 31 per cent on the previous year. 

On ten occasions IWF provided law enforcement agencies with intelligence it believed could help rescue a child.

Award categories included arts, culture and heritage, social care, the environment and conservation, disability, campaigning and advocacy, and international development. 

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