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New study by Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) reveals child sexual abuse content as top online concern and potentially 1.5m adults have stumbled upon it.

Source: IWF published on this site Monday 18th March 2013 by Jill Powell

More people in Britain are concerned about websites showing the sexual abuse of children than other types of illegal, illicit or ‘harmful’ internet content. However, more than half of people in Britain currently say that they either wouldn’t know how to report it if they were to encounter it (40%) or would just ignore it (12%).

The ComRes poll conducted among a representative sample of 2058 British adults for the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) shows the vast majority of people in Britain think that child sexual abuse content (“child pornography”) (91%) and computer generated images or cartoons of child sexual abuse (85%) should be removed from the internet.

83% of people overall say they are ‘concerned’ about child pornography with 74% saying they are ‘very concerned’.

Followed by:

  • 77% are concerned about computer generated images or cartoons of child sexual abuse;
  • 73% are concerned about terrorist websites;
  • 68% are concerned about very extreme/violent pornography;
  • 62% are concerned about hate websites (racist or homophobic);
  • 61% are concerned about suicide websites;
  • 51% are concerned about eating disorder websites.
  • 4% of men – the equivalent of one million men, and 2% of women, the equivalent of 500,000, report actually having come into contact with it, or have stumbled across it.
  • Four times the proportion of men who acknowledged having come into contact with child sexual abuse content (“child pornography”) (4%) say that they would ignore it if they stumbled across it (16%).

The survey also revealed some differences in views between men and women, with women being more concerned than men across all categories of material:

 

% concerned

 

Men

Women

Child pornography

80

86

Computer-generated images or cartoons of child sexual abuse

73

80

Terrorist websites

71

75

Very extreme/violent pornography

60

76

Hate websites, e.g. racist/homophobic

56

67

Websites promoting suicide

54

69

Websites encouraging eating disorders

40

61

The results come as the IWF reports record times for the removal of online child sexual abuse content from UK public networks.

Throughout the whole of 2012, the Internet Watch Foundation logged just 73 UK webpages hosting child sexual abuse images or videos. This compares to 9,477 hosted in other countries around the world.

Of the 73 UK webpages:

  • 41 (56%) were then removed within 60 minutes of the IWF notifying the host company or Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • 57 (78%) were removed in two hours or less.

But there is still more to be done explains IWF CEO, Susie Hargreaves.

Susie Hargreaves said: “There is clear public concern over the availability of images and videos of children being sexually abused on the internet.

“What is concerning for us is that not enough people know how to report this or would rather ignore it,especially considering the survey tells us that around 1.5 million British adults have seen this sort of content online.

“Although we’ve seen record removal times in the UK, during 2012 we saw a higher proportion of images of children under 10 years old being sexually abused.”

Ms Hargreaves continued: “We are also very aware that there are internet hosting companies in the UK which could do more, and faster, who are not members of IWF.

“We have a responsibility to do all we can to help protect children - and adults who were abused as children -from having their abuse viewed time and time again. We need to prevent people from stumbling upon this content and assist other countries in creating a hostile environment for hosting it.

“The problem is very much still out there, and is a great public concern, so our message is if you think you’ve stumbled upon child sexual abuse images or videos on the internet, report it to iwf.org.uk.”

To find out more about the IWF click: http://www.iwf.org.uk/

 

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