Internet Related Crime

Internet Watch Foundation

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) allows you to report illegal content on the web including child abuse images. It operates the only internet 'hotline' in the UK for reporting illegal images on the web. 

Working in partnership with police, government, the internet and mobile industries, the IWF provides this free service for the general public which is aimed at minimising the availability of illegal content to protect Internet users.

What do we mean by illegal images on the web?

This means images and in some cases text, which you see or may be inadvertently exposed to on a website, which contains any of the following:

  • Child sexual abuse images hosted anywhere in the world,
  • Criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK and
  • Non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK.

If you genuinely stumble across such images accidentally, or are inadvertently exposed to them you must report them to the IWF.

It is an offence to deliberately seek out illegal images and purposely viewing child abuse images can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Why should I report these images?

Reports from the public help us to combat this content and where possible, have it removed. This makes the Internet a safer place for everyone.
Child abuse images reflect the real abuse of a child and your reports to the hotline might help the authorities to trace and rescues a young victim from further abuse.

How do I report?

Go to the IWF website www.iwf.org.uk and complete the step-by-step form. The form is easy to navigate and reports can be submitted anonymously.

Virtual Global Taskforce 

The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) is actively involved in investigating suspicious behaviour online with or towards a child.

The Report Abuse button is an effective mechanism for reporting suspected sexual predator behaviour.

If you or a child is in immediate danger, always contact police on 999 in an emergency. 

Sexual predator behaviour includes:

  • making and downloading images of children being sexually abused
  • approaching a child online for sex (e.g. sexual activity via text or webcam)
  • grooming – this is the deliberate actions taken by an adult to form a trusting relationship with a child online, with the intent of later facilitating sexual contact. This can take place in chat rooms, instant messaging, social networking sites and email
  • contact offending – once contact has been made with a child online, child sex offenders then move towards meeting up in person for sexual purposes.

Facebook Abuse

If you wish to report inappropriate or abusive things on Facebook, such as nudity, graphic violence or threats, Facebook will remove things that don't follow the Facebook Terms. If you come across something on Facebook please report it directly to them using the report link near the post or photo to submit a report. 

Twitter Abuse

Users are allowed to post content, including potentially inflammatory content, provided they do not violate the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service, or indeed break the law. Read the policy about abusive behaviour on Twitter. 


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