Cambridge’s Internet Watch Foundation tackling rising reports of online child sex abuse

Published August 5, 2013 by JS2

01/08/13 Internet Watch Foundation interviews01/08/13 .Internet Watch Foundation interviews . Reporter Charlie scott interviewing. Picture By Duncan Lamont

 

A Cambridge-based charity tasked with monitoring child sexual abuse content online has reported a huge spike in the number of reports it is 
receiving from the public.

The Internet Watch Foundation said reports of child sexual abuse content online are 34 per cent up on last year’s figures for the same period.

The charity also recorded a 25 per cent rise in the number of reported 
instances of abuse featuring children under the age of 10, and a 27 per cent increase in abuse classified as “the worst of the worst”.

Emma Lowther, director of external relations at IWF, believes high-profile child sexual abuse cases have encouraged members of the public to come forward and report criminal content.

She said: “There is an incredible 
increase and we have noticed there has been an uplift in the number of reports since October last year.

“We have put this down to there 
being a lot of media attention on 
historical child sexual abuse cases.

“The Jimmy Savile case was in October last year, and since then there have been a number of people arrested in relation to historical child sexual abuse.”

Police investigating the recent sexually motivated murders of two young girls, Tia Sharp and April Jones, revealed both murderers had accessed online child sexual abuse content before the killings.

Miss Lowther added: “People are more aware and hopefully what it also shows is that people are willing to take responsibility and, rather than seeing this and then shutting down their computer, they are realising they should report it.”

The IWF’s job is to analyse criminal online content that is sent to them by the police, public or from other internet hotlines from abroad, and work to have it removed as quickly as possible.

Its achievements as one of the most successful organisations of its kind globally were recognised in a recent speech by David Cameron.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to fighting online child sexual abuse content while noting that today less than 1 per cent of online child sexual abuse images are hosted in the UK – one of the principle achievements of the IWF. In 1996, when the organisation was set up, it was 18 per cent.

Miss Lowther said: “We are delighted that he supports the IWF. It is incredibly important that we have that support.”

In June the charity was invited to a summit in London by Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Sport, Media and Culture, where the problem of child sexual abuse content was discussed.

And Google recently made a £1 million donation to the company, to be spread over the next four years, which will enable them to hire as many as five more analysts.

Cambridge News
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