Public urged to report offensive online imagesIWF aims to raise awareness of internet hotline

14 October 2009

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The Internet Watch Foundation is urging members of the public to help in the war against child sexual abuse images distributed online.

While one in 20 adults say they have been exposed to these images on the web, three-quarters are still unsure of how to report those images when they stumble upon them online, according to the IWF.

Read our free guide on how to protect children online

The organisation hopes to raise awareness of its online reporting Hotline with its third annual awareness day, today (October 14).

Awareness of the Hotline has increased by 18% following 2008’s awareness day and, says the IWF, the Hotline and similar global initiatives are working.

Reporting indecent images

Eve Salomon, IWF chair, said: ‘The UK has an excellent record in eradicating child sexual abuse images on the internet in partnership with 35 other Hotlines around the world.’

During the first three quarters of this year, the IWF has issued 25 notices to companies in the UK about the abuse of their networks for the distribution of these images. Every identified instance of online child sexual abuse content in the UK was removed within a day of notification.

‘If you stumble across child sexual abuse images, it's crucial you report it to us. Your reports to our Hotline really do make a difference,’ said Salomon.

UK abuse clampdown

The UK is successfully clamping down on the number of child abuse images posted on the internet.

The number of suspect images reported to the IWF is down by 5% on last year (27,000); one in five of these were confirmed as cases of sexual abuse.

Almost all of these images (99%) were traced to overseas servers; IWF claims it is now ‘extremely rare’ for child sex abuse images to be on UK-based sites.

While the IWF wants people to report images they stumble upon it is keen to point out that people should not seek out images to report.

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