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UK charity expands global fight against online child abuse

A UK charity has welcomed Liberia into its global reporting network, which has been set up to crackdown on child sexual abuse images and videos on the internet.

Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)’s web based reporting system allows the public to report suspected images and videos of child sexual abuse by sending a web address anonymously to its Cambridge base, where it is investigated.

Libera, where it is estimated that 95% of children use the internet, is the latest country to join the charity’s network and follows the setting up of a partnership between the charity, the Liberian government, Liberia’s Defence for Children International and GSM service providers Orange Liberia.

The Libera reporting portal has been funded by the Fund to End Violence Against Children, which will fund the setting up of portals in 30 countries.

It is hoped that by the end of 2020 the total number of reporting portals will be 50. IWF has already helped set up reporting platforms in 25 countries.

Since the IWF was founded in 1996, known child sexual abuse imagery hosted in the UK has fallen from 18% to less than 1% of the global total.

“We’ve made the UK a very hostile environment for hosting such criminal material and the next step is reaching out to help others join the fight,” said Susie Hargreaves, the IWF’s chief executive officer.

“Having somewhere to report child sexual abuse material on the internet is an important part of building a country’s cybersecurity which, in turn, enables a country’s internet economy to flourish.

“We recognise that this can be incredibly costly for countries who are dealing with a myriad of challenges, which is why the Fund to End Violence Against Children is so important. It enables us to provide the portals for free and in turn builds awareness of the need to combat this criminal content on a global scale.

“We also recognise that all countries are different which is why the partnerships in Liberia are vital as they provide advice to us, and steer and embed the portal.”

Safer Internet Day

The announcement coincides with Safer Internet Day (5 February), a global day of action involving more than 1,000 organisations in the UK.

This aims to ensure young people and children use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.

Activity in the UK has been organised by the UK Safer Internet Centre, a partnership involving, IWF, Childnet and South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL).

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