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Internet Watch Foundation reveals 37% increase in child sexual abuse URLs since last year

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The Internet Watch Foundation is a charity that works to remove child sexual abuse imagery and content from the internet, and their latest annual report shows a 37% increase in the number of URLs used to host child sexual abuse imagery and videos since last year.

The figure has risen from 57,338 URLs found in 2016, to 78,589 URLs found in 2017.

The Annual Report is published each year to provide a global measure of the amount of online child sexual abuse content that has been found online to the Government, the police, and the internet industry.

Included in the report are statistics highlighting the year’s research and findings, information on what the Internet Watch Foundation has achieved throughout the year, statements from those who work for and with the charity, and detailed trends in how services are being used by offenders to host the illegal content.

You can view the full report by clicking here.online child protection training

In its introduction, the Internet Watch Foundation says it assesses a web page for illegal content every 4 minutes, and every 7 minutes that web page shows a child being sexually abused. 132,636 reports were processed by the IWF in 2017, with each report having the potential to contain one, or thousands of illegal images and videos.

The sheer number of websites used to host illegal images of children is staggering enough, but more concerning is the fact that this may only be the tip of the iceberg. The Internet Watch Foundation works to proactively source new illegal websites every day, but they are also helped by members of the general public who report any illegal content that they have seen to the IWF. 50% of the reports processed in 2017 were the result of the general public raising the alarm.

You can report any illegal or indecent content to the IWF at any time by visiting their website at https://www.iwf.org.uk.

It is absolutely important to remember that behind every illegal image or video is a real child who has suffered the abuse. In many cases, this abuse never disappears entirely from the internet, which makes it extremely difficult for the children involved to ever escape their past experiences – as highlighted in this harrowing quote from one of the IWF analysts who sources illegal content for the IWF every day:

“Sadly, for the children that aren’t rescued, we sometimes see victims growing up. Their lives play out in front of us, from tiny babies to toddlers, young teens to adults. These are perhaps the most tragic cases and they’re driven by offenders, who demand more and more images of abuse. I suppose that’s why we do what we do. We want to make a difference. We want to stop victims being tormented by the fact that the images and videos of their abuse could be shared, and shared again. We want to help rescue these child victims.”

At the Child Protection Company, we place great importance on protecting children and young people from abuse and harm, and we fully support the work of the Internet Watch Foundation. Our online safeguarding courses cover the signs and indicators of abuse, so that you can always be prepared to notice when a child may be in danger. To view our range of online safeguarding courses, please click here.