IWF and UK Overseas Territories take a stand against online child sexual abuse imagery
The IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) initiative has been made possible by funding from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Cyber Security Capacity Building Programme. The IWF Reporting Portals will provide a quick and easy way for web users in 12 overseas territories to safely and anonymously report online images and videos of child sexual abuse.
Today (Wednesday 1 June 2016) a planned roll-out of the IWF Reporting Portal is happening simultaneously in the following 12 UK Overseas Territories:
- Akrotiri and Dhekelia
- Ascension Islands
- British Virgin Islands (BVI)
- Cayman Islands
- Pitcairn Islands
- Tristan Da Cunha
- Turks and Caicos
- St Helena
Susie Hargreaves, IWF CEO says: “This is a ground-breaking initiative for us, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the territories involved. We’re now able to provide a first class Reporting Portal to protect the citizens in each of these territories. Child sexual abuse imagery is a global problem and we can only fight it with a truly global solution.”
What is the IWF Reporting Portal?
By working closely with internet companies, the IWF helps people who stumble across online child sexual abuse images and videos to report them anonymously, via a web-based reporting Hotline.
A team of experienced IWF analysts then work directly with the internet industry and law enforcement, to have the abusive imagery removed quickly.
The advantage of establishing an IWF Reporting Portal is that any reports of suspected online child sexual abuse imagery generated in these territories will be assessed directly by one of IWF’s analysts. These analysts are respected globally for their experience.
The IWF Hotline provides one of the most successful reporting mechanisms in the world. When the charity was founded 20 years ago, 18% of the world’s online child sexual abuse imagery was hosted in the UK. Thanks to IWF analysts, that figure is now 0.2%. These analysts are considered world-leaders for their expertise.
Watch our short video which explains what the IWF Reporting Portal is and how it works.
What does it mean for the fight against online child sexual abuse imagery?
Harriet Lester, IWF’s Technical Projects Officer, who worked closely with the territories throughout the project, says: “Launching these 12 Reporting Portals is a huge step toward our mission to remove child abuse images and video from the internet completely.
“I travelled to a number of the territories early on in the project and the response from people there was overwhelmingly positive. We're looking forward to working with them to make their corner of the internet a safer place.”
The IWF worked closely with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on getting the 12 portals up and running.
James Duddridge, UK Minister for the Overseas Territories says: “This demonstrates the Overseas Territories commitment to protecting children from harm and builds on the excellent work of the Internet Watch Foundation, who remove child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world. I am delighted the FCO, through our Cyber Security Capacity Building programme, have been able to support this.”
Online child sexual abuse images and videos are a very real problem across the globe. The IWF brings together governments, law enforcement, the online industry and civil society to do what’s needed to eliminate images of child sexual abuse from the Internet.
In 2015 (figures published in April 2016) the IWF positively identified 68, 092 reports of child sexual abuse images or videos, which it then helped remove from the internet. From that figure, 69% of the victims were assessed as ten years old or under. 1788 victims were assessed as two or under. Just over one third were category A – the rape or sexual torture of children.
Removing these abusive images from the internet makes it a safer place for all.
What the territories say:
Eddie Yome, Commissioner of the Royal Gibraltar Police, says: "The rise of social media and new technology have been some of the biggest contributory factors to the change in the global policing landscape over the past couple of years and there is no doubting that it brings with it some very difficult challenges, especially at a time when our resources are under increased pressure and demand.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of a joined up approach to this issue and as a result, we continue to focus on effective partnership, working to ensure we are better educated and prepared to successfully address the growing demands of the digital age. This latest partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation is an example of our efforts in support of our Annual Policing plan. The IWF perform an outstanding job in minimising the availability of child sexual abuse images online, through an effective network of trusted international partnerships with law enforcement, industry and voluntary sectors”.
Turks and Caicos
Mary Durham, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Acting Superintendant in charge of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Unit, says: “Every way and means necessary to protect our children here in the Turks and Caicos Islands is of high importance. The introduction of the reporting Portal is certainly a great initiative and is impeccable as we move forward with an aim to stop child abuse images and video from surfacing on the internet.”
Notes to editors:
Contact: Lisa Stacey, IWF Communications Manager +44 (0) 1223 203030 or +44 (0) 7929 553679.
What we do:
We make the internet a safer place. We help victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online images and videos of their abuse. We search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. We then have them removed. We’re a not for profit organisation and are supported by the global internet industry and the European Commission.
The IWF is part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, working with Childnet International and the South West Grid for Learning to promote the safe and responsible use of technology.