IWF announce record reports of child sexual abuse online

Posted on 21 April 2016

Today (21 April, 2016), the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), the online child sexual abuse charity and UKSIC hotline, reveals a staggering increase in the number of reports of illegal child sexual abuse images and videos, that it removed from the internet last year. 

68,092 reports were positively identified as containing illegal child sexual abuse imagery and taken down. This is a:

  • 417% increase in online confirmed reports over two years
  • 118% increase in illegal child abuse imagery over the previous year

Data from IWF’s 2015 Annual Report, show their analysts have seen a dramatic increase in reports. This is since Prime Minister David Cameron gave his approval for the IWF to start proactively searching for online child sexual abuse imagery in April 2014.

In 2013, the last complete year of figures before IWF active searches were introduced, 13,182 reports were found to contain child sexual abuse imagery. In 2015, the first full year that their analysts were able to actively search, 68,092 reports were confirmed as illegal images or video. That’s an increase of 417%.

Each confirmed report, or URL, could contain one or one thousand images.

Susie Hargreaves, IWF CEO says: “Last year our analysts broke all records for assessing reports. By being allowed to actively search for these hideous images of children, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the sheer number of illegal images and videos that we’ve been able to remove from the internet. Thanks to a co-ordinated approach from government and our internet industry Members, our work is having an incredible impact.

“But despite our success, this isn’t the time to stand still. We’re employing the latest technology in our work and we’ve got ambitious plans to expand our team of analysts. What we never forget, is that behind these headlines and every single image we remove from the internet – there is a real child being abused.”

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