100,000th URL removed by the Internet Watch Foundation

Internet Watch Foundation

Major milestone for the Internet Watch Foundation

100,000 child sexual abuse webpages have been actioned thanks to the work of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

And in the past two years 12 children have been rescued from their abusers as a direct result of IWF actions.

The charity was formed in 1996 with the aim of eliminating online child sexual abuse content.

  • Four in five child victims in online content appear to be 10 years old and under*;
  • Most of the content dealt with by the IWF (53%) is the worst on the scale, showing the rape and sexual torture of the child victim**.

In 1996, before the IWF was formed, the UK hosted around 18% of the known child sexual abuse content. Since 2003, the IWF, working with the online industry, has reduced this to less than 1%.

54% is hosted in North America and 37% in Europe and Russia***.

The IWF is the UK Hotline for anyone to report this content.IWF analysts assess each report made to the Hotline against UK law. If a webpage contains child sexual abuse content, it is traced to determine the country hosting the content.

If it’s hosted in the UK, the IWF issues a notice to the hosting provider who then removes the content, typically within one hour.

If it’s hosted abroad, the details are sent to the corresponding Hotline in the host country, via INHOPE (the Association of Internet Hotlines). If no such Hotline exists in that country, the IWF works with the relevant police service in order to get the content removed.

Susie Hargreaves, IWF CEO, said: “Taking action against 100,000 webpages hosting child sexual abuse content requires the skills and dedication of many individuals and organisations.

“More than 100 organisations actively support the IWF’s work and vision and act quickly to remove some of the worst types of abuse online.We’re grateful for this support, because without it, our work would be more difficult and removing content would take more time.

“I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this mammoth effort.”

On Thursday (11 April) the IWF holds a Brussels conference on the global fight against online child sexual abuse content. It is hosted by MEP Emma McClarkin, supported by Facebook and presented by TV’s Kate Russell,technology reporter and author.