The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) is partnering with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to establish a joint Reporting Portal that allows anyone, anywhere to report child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online. The online portal, hosted on ICMEC’s website, allows concerned internet users who do not have access to their own national reporting mechanism to easily and anonymously report CSAM on the internet.
CSAM on the internet is a growing global threat. In 2020, IWF assessed a webpage every two minutes and every three minutes, that webpage showed a child being sexually abused. Reporting portals enable citizens to join in the fight against online CSAM by reporting this illegal and harmful content. It is essential that this material is reported and addressed to protect child victims from the revictimization that occurs every time their image is viewed or shared.
Together, ICMEC and IWF envision a world where every country or nation has dedicated CSAM reporting portals or hotlines suited to their national needs and trusted by their citizens. Currently, 79 countries do not have access to a CSAM reporting portal or hotline. Together, ICMEC and IWF are committed to overcoming this disparity and empowering every citizen with access to safely and anonymously report illegal content online — even if their country does not have a national reporting mechanism in place.
This collaboration between ICMEC and IWF offers an immediate solution to provide citizens a place to report CSAM, and is critical to IWF’s ability to assess and remove CSAM on a global scale. Leaders of both organizations believe that the portal will be an mechanism is an important step toward making the internet safe for children:
ICMEC CEO, Bob Cunningham shares, “CSAM is a global problem that demands a global solution. The trauma for victims of child sexual abuse continues every time images or videos of their abuse are viewed. Through our partnership with IWF to bring reporting capabilities to every citizen around the world, we are stopping the further abuse of children and making the internet a safer place for everyone.”
Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation, said: “Wherever these videos and images can be accessed, and wherever they are being shared, we must make sure we can take swift action. The world is full of people who want to do the right thing, and who will call this harmful content out when they see it. This is why this portal, which gives people somewhere safe and anonymous to report until countries develop their own national reporting mechanism, is so important. It’s a big step in making the internet a safer place for everyone.”
The public is given this advice when making a report:
- Do report images and videos of child sexual abuse to the IWF to be removed. Reports to the IWF are anonymous.
- Do provide the exact URL where child sexual abuse images are located.
- Don’t report other harmful content – you can find details of other agencies to report to on the IWF’s website.
- Do report to the police if you are concerned about a child’s welfare.
- Do report only once for each web address or URL. Repeat reporting of the same URL isn’t needed and takes up analysts’ time.
- Do report non-photographic visual depictions of the sexual abuse of children, such as computer-generated images.
About the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children
The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) is a non-governmental organization working to make the world a safer place for children by defending against child sexual exploitation, abuse, and the risk of going missing. Headquartered in the United States, ICMEC works with partners around the world to develop research, technologies, and educational resources to aid in the search and recovery of children who are missing, fight child sexual exploitation, and empower caring professionals, institutions, and communities to safeguard children from all forms of sexual abuse. For more information go to www.icmec.org.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is a UK-based charity working globally to find and remove child sexual abuse imagery from the internet. Established in 1996, the organization’s dedicated analysts scour the internet to identify child sexual abuse material and then work internationally with technology companies and law enforcement to ensure those materials are removed. The IWF also provides a suite of services and datasets for tech companies to help prevent the distribution of this criminal material.