Help protect younger children from sexual abuse.
Every 2 minutes our analysts in Cambridge remove a photo online of a child suffering sexual abuse.
As one of the world’s leading organisations fighting online child sexual abuse we rely on the generous support of members of the public, charitable giving bodies and the business community. Your support will help us continue and increase our vital work helping these victims.
In March 2022, the UK Government presented its much-anticipated Online Safety Bill to be read in the House of Commons. This was the culmination of almost six years’ worth of pre-legislative consultation in the preparation of the Bill. The IWF continued to influence and follow the Bill throughout its passage in Parliament.
Second reading, 19 April 2022
At a heavily curtailed debate on the Bill’s Second Reading, the former Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee, Julian Knight MP, called for the IWF to have a role in assisting Ofcom to identify companies who were failing in their duty of care.
Former Digital Minister Dame Caroline Dinenage MP also referenced the harm caused to children and how the IWF and partners blocked 8.8 million attempts in one month to access known child sexual abuse material. Read our briefing note.
Public Bill Committee, 24 May 2022
The Bill entered its Public Bill Committee stage for the first time in May. The Committee, Chaired by Sir Roger Gale MP and Christina Rees MP, used its first session to hear from a wide range of stakeholders, including IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves OBE, on various aspects of the Bill before considering line by line scrutiny of the Bill.
Topics of discussion at the Public Bill Committee evidence session included categorisation of companies as part of the Bill, end-to-end encryption, grooming, co-designation of expert bodies and media literacy. Read our evidence to the Public Bill Committee.
Report Stage, 12 July and 5 December 2022
The Bill had two days of Report Stage. The first on 12 July and the second, following two changes of Prime Minister, on 5 December.
Many of the amendments relating to child sexual exploitation and abuse were considered on 5 December, when several MPs stood up to raise concerns about the need for more detail on how the implementation of the legislation would work in practice.
Former Safeguarding Minister, Rachel Maclean MP, called for the IWF’s technical expertise to be reflected in the new regulatory framework. Former Home Secretary Priti Patel MP pushed the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Paul Scully MP, to ensure he was aware of the IWF’s expertise and that it would be reflected in the new framework. Several other Parliamentary Champions, including Sarah Champion MP, Miriam Cates MP and Vicky Ford MP, backed these calls.
IWF Champion Laura Trott MP chaired a virtual session for Members of Parliament and Peers to hear from three of Childnet’s Digital Leaders as part of a discussion about the theme for Safer Internet Day 2022: ‘All fun and games? Exploring respect and relationships online’.
Speaking in a debate on mental health in Parliament on the same day Laura Trott said:
“Today, at an event involving the Internet Watch Foundation, I heard four teenagers talk about the pressures that they felt online, and how difficult they found to talk to people about what was happening and where to refer it. We must fix this, and I think the Online Safety Bill will be the key to that.”
Video clip of IWF Champion Laura Trott MP in Parliament on 8 February 2022 referring to the Safer Internet Day event she chaired.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its final report in October after nearly seven years of work, hearing from 7,300 victims and survivors and considering nearly 2.5million pages of evidence.
We were proud to play our part in the Inquiry which concluded that: “too often institutions prioritised their personal and institutional reputations above the welfare of those they were duty bound to protect.” The final report stated: “Children must be given a greater priority in public life.”
A month after the Inquiry concluded, we were pleased to add our name to a letter to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary calling on them to implement the recommendations in the report.
This year, as part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, we continued to run the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Media. The APPG elected two new Co-Chairs in 2022, Labour MP Luke Pollard and Conservative MP Aaron Bell who took over from outgoing Chair Chris Elmore MP.
The APPG held two meetings this year related to the Online Safety Bill. The first considered child protection measures in the Bill where MPs and Peers heard from SWGfL, Barnardo’s and the IWF on how the Bill could be improved, with a response from then Digital Minister Chris Philp MP.
The second session considered changes the Government made to the Bill concerning the “legal but harmful provisions.” Speakers included Will Perrin of the Carnegie Trust, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Tech and the Digital Economy at DCMS Paul Scully MP and Labour Shadow Minister for Tech, Gambling and the Digital Economy Alex Davies-Jones MP.