UK Overseas Territories join forces with Internet Watch Foundation to fight online child sexual abuse imagery

Ascension has launched a dedicated IWF Reporting Portal, to allow web users to report images and videos of child sexual abuse safely and anonymously.

The launch comes as part of an IWF initiative made possible by funding from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Cyber Security Capacity Building Programme. It will provide a quick and easy way for citizens to report online images and videos of child sexual abuse, to a safe and anonymous hotline.

A planned roll-out of the IWF Reporting Portal is happening simultaneously in 12 UK Overseas Territories. IWF Reporting Portals have already been successfully established in Mauritius and Uganda.

Susie Hargreaves, IWF CEO says: “It’s great that Ascension has joined this ground-breaking initiative, to provide a first class Reporting Portal to protect their citizens. 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 [sometimes known as child pornography] to report it anonymously, via a web-based reporting Hotline.

Ascension’s IWF Reporting Portal can be found here.

A team of experienced IWF analysts then work directly with the internet industry and law enforcement, to have any 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  Ascension will be assessed directly by one of IWF’s analysts. These analysts are respected globally for their experience.

Today, the IWF Hotline provides one of the most successful reporting mechanisms in the world. When they were founded 20 years ago, 18% of the world’s online child sexual abuse imagery was hosted in the UK. Thanks to their analysts, that figure is now 0.2%. These analysts are considered world-leaders for their expertise.

Harriet Lester, the IWF’s Technical Projects Officer working with Rob Parfrey says: “The launch of the Reporting Portal in Ascension is a huge step towards our mission to remove child abuse images and video [sometimes known as child pornography] from the internet completely. The response from people here has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re looking forward to helping them make their corner of the internet a safer place.”

Watch this short video which explains what the IWF Reporting Portal is and how it works.

Read more about Ascension’s IWF Reporting Portal.

The IWF in Ascension

The IWF has worked closely with AIG & the Police. UK Minister for the Overseas Territories, James Duddridge 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.”

Ascension Island Social Worker, Rob Parfrey, said “Being able to use IWF to help protect children while online and raise their awareness of internet safety is a worthwhile and needed project on our technologically developing island. The IWF have been professional and supportive in rolling out this service “.

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 IWF do:

IWF make the internet a safer place. They help victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online images and videos of their abuse. They search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. Then then have them removed. They’re a not for profit organisation and are supported by the global internet industry and the European Commission.

For more information please visit www.iwf.org.uk.

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.