I first came across the Internet Watch Foundation (www.iwf.org.uk) in 2006 when I was reading an article about child sexual abuse, and I have followed their work ever since. At one time, I even contemplated applying to work for them to help their fight against online abuse, but the role involved viewing images of this abuse, and I knew I could not do it. Thank heaven there are people that can. I am in awe of organisations such as the IWF and extremely grateful for the vital work they do.
The figures relating to child sexual abuse are frightening. Since the COVID lockdowns, people are spending more time online and children are more at risk than ever from sexual predators. The analysts at the IWF track down an image of a child being sexually abused every 3 minutes! This is horrifying. We need to help parents educate their children to protect them from online grooming, and we need to take action if we suspect any form of child abuse is happening. It is vital that we work together to ensure anyone found guilty of committing such abuse is subject to the full force of the law.
I want to thank the Internet Watch Foundation for the magnificent work they do on behalf of vulnerable young people. As part of Safer Internet Day on the 8th February, we should fully support the IWF and work with them to make the internet a safer place for everyone, particularly children.