IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) Report: Online Child Sexual Exploitation

The IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) have released their report ‘Online Child Sexual Exploitation: Examining the Distribution of Captures of Live-streamed Child Sexual Abuse’.

The results are shocking.


What you need to know

The study focused on 2,082 images and video captures  of live-streamed child sexual abuse.

2,042 images and videos depicted girls (96%).

85% of the imagery was located on ‘Image Host’ websites. This method exploits legal loopholes which exist outside the UK so the images are immune to being removed.

40% of the abuse was categorised as A or B, which indicates serious sexual abuse.

97% of the reports were in the age group 7-13 years old.


What we can do

Educate Yourself

Vitally, we need to raise awareness regarding the risks of online streaming services. For example, the popular app live.ly allows users to send gifts that the broadcaster can withdraw from the app, receiving “real world” money.

Download, share and print our guide on Live-Streaming to familiarise yourself with the most popular platforms.


Raise Awareness

As outlined in the report, the study suggests that there is ‘still a lack of awareness amongst children of the risks of live interactions via webcam and the potential for permanent records to be created and distributed outside of their control‘.

When articles and reports such as this appear in the news, use them as talking points with children and young people in your care.

Live streaming is extremely popular with children and young people and it is not going anywhere, it is estimated that by 2020, live streaming will account for 80% of the world’s internet traffic.

Therefore, it is important that children and young people understand the context and consequences surrounding why they need to be careful streaming online and how as soon as something goes online they can lose control over it.