Vicky Ford MEP

Member of the European Parliament for the East of England

18 MAR 2013

Vicky Ford visits Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

IWF Champion Vicky Ford MEP (East of England) met those at the forefront of tackling online child sexual abuse content on Friday 15 March.

Cambridge-based Internet Watch Foundation takes reports from the public of online child sexual abuse images and videos.

Their analysts assess these images and videos against UK law and if potentially criminal, work with the online industry to get them removed from the internet.

In October 2012 Mrs Ford chose to become an IWF Champion, supporting the work of the IWF in its efforts to eliminate online child sexual abuse content.

Last Friday, Mrs Ford met the IWF staff in their offices in Cambridge together with District Councillor James Hockney. They talked to the IWF Analysts about their daily work fighting child sexual abuse content and discussed how the IWF is working internationally to share their expertise and best practice.

Mrs Ford MEP said: "The work that the IWF do is absolutely essential.  Understanding how best to prevent illegal images from being circulated via the web is a big international political issue. Once an image has been reported to IWF they typically can be removed within the hour, if they are webhosted in the UK. In other countries this can take as long as 10 days. I am pleased to be a champion of theirs and to help them raise awareness of their work.

"In the past two years alone, by sharing intelligence with police the IWF have aided the identification and rescue of 12 children. Figures show that since the IWF have been in operation, the amount of child sexual abuse content hosted on the internet from the UK has reduced from 18% in 1996 to less than 1% today, which is an indication of the excellent things they are achieving.

"We must look at sharing examples of best practise like this with other countries. Next month we will be launching a campaign to raise awareness of this in Brussels."

Cllr James Hockney, District Councillor for Waterbeach said, "The Internet Watch Foundation do invaluable work protecting youngsters and it's great to have a local organisation making such an impact"

"Their results show they are making a real difference including working with the Police which led to twelve youngsters being rescued in the last two years.

"I am really delighted that Vicky Ford MEP is so supportive of this organisation and the work they do."

IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves said: "We were delighted when Vicky wanted to become an IWF Champion. To have such international support for our work means a great deal to the charity and our staff.

"Our analysts view some of the most horrific types of content on the internet and they do so with diligence and professionalism.

"We were absolutely delighted to welcome Vicky to our offices!"

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Economic Stability must come first. Without a strong economy we can not deliver a strong society. I work with businesses and consumers to keep Britain open for business, cutting red tape, boosting trade opportunities and helping to deliver jobs and growth for all.

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