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    Analysis by age

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    Analysis overview

    Age comparison over the past three years.

    This chart provides a three-year look at the number, and proportion, of child sexual abuse URLs identified by IWF analysts split by age of the youngest child seen in any image upon that URL.

    Over the past three years, children aged 11-13 are most often seen, however a 10 percentage point decrease was noted in 2022, compared to 2021. We also noted a 13 percentage point increase in the number of 7-10 year old children.


    This chart provides a breakdown for all child sexual abuse reports in 2022, by age of the youngest child seen.





    0-2 years: Babies and toddlers

    Every year, we see a greater proportion of category A images – showing the most severe, sadistic forms of sexual abuse – involving babies, toddlers and even newborns. In 2022, we also continued to see many category B images, suggesting that in almost all images of infants, an abuser is present.

    Young children

    Younger children continue to be abused and exploited by criminals for commercial gain: we saw a high proportion of ICAP websites using videos of 3-6-year-olds to ‘advertise’ the sale of child sexual abuse images.

    ICAP sites represent a new methodology of commercial child sexual abuse websites which we discovered in 2022. You can read more on ICAP sites here.


    Pre-pubescent children

    In 2022, we saw a 60% increase in the number of images including children aged 7-10 years old. As ever-younger children become more tech-aware and active online, they become more vulnerable to grooming and abuse by strangers – even in their own bedrooms.

    Older children

    As in previous years, we saw more sexual abuse images of children aged 11-13 than of any other age group. Older children can be curious about the online world and keen to explore. Unfortunately, adult abusers – sometimes pretending to be children themselves – exploit this by manipulating children into performing sexual acts on camera, via a smartphone, tablet or laptop. In 2022, we saw a 14% decrease in imagery of this age group.

    Younger teenagers

    Girls are especially likely to be targeted and abused online; within this age group, girls account for 95% of the children we saw. The abuse doesn’t stop when the child logs off – if images have been captured and saved, they can be shared across the internet again and again. Hashing helps prevent re-victimisation by identifying images as they are uploaded.


    Increasing numbers of teenagers are using Report Remove to flag intimate images and videos to us that have been shared online without their permission. These are often cases of sexually-coerced extortion, where an image is stolen from the child and money is demanded in exchange for that image not being distributed.

    We know that sexually coerced extortion for financial gain seems to be more prevalent with boys rather than girls. Boys are typically lured into what they believe are mutual exchanges of sexual images where boys mistakenly believe they are sharing images with a girl or older woman.

    Empowering children to reclaim control of their images also helps us remove images where the child’s age might be unclear without verification.

    Learn more about Report Remove here.