Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)
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Statement: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) Preliminary Hearing into the Internet Investigation

Today, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has been granted Core Participant status on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s (IICSA’s) Internet Investigation, at a preliminary hearing of the inquiry.

A Core Participant is an individual, organisation or institution that has a specific interest in the work of the inquiry and has a formal role as defined by legislation. Core participants have special rights as part of the inquiry process. These include receiving disclosure of documentation and legal submissions, suggesting questions and receiving advance notice of the inquiry’s report.

The inquiry announced that it had already received written submissions from the IWF and John Carr OBE. The inquiry also announced that it has requested further submissions from Apple, Avon & Somerset Constabulary, BT, Complainants, Facebook, Google, Kik and Microsoft.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, who will be representing the IWF on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said:

“I am delighted that the IWF has been designated Core Participant status alongside other previously appointed state organisations, such as the National Crime Agency (NCA), National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), Metropolitan Police (MPS) and Home Office. This further demonstrates the important role we play in tackling the scourge of child sexual abuse online.”

“Core Participant status is a trusted position with a formal role in legislation, that enables us to ask questions on behalf of children and young people, who have been unfortunate enough to be the victims of horrific abuse and then had their suffering compounded by having that terrible abuse spread online. We owe it to them to ensure that Government policy relevant to the protection of children from sexual abuse facilitated by the internet is working effectively, that tech companies are doing enough to prevent the facilitation of child sexual abuse and that the relevant statutory frameworks are in place to do so.”

“All of these matters are being considered by the inquiry and we look forward to being able to share our twenty-two years’ of unique experience of working in partnership with industry, law enforcement and Government with the inquiry.”

Notes to editors:

The inquiry recently announced the timetable of public hearings for this part of the investigation, which will take place during weeks commencing 13th and 20th May 2019.

You can read the transcript of the preliminary hearing of the inquiry here:

The Scope of the IICSA Inquiry into the Internet is available here:

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The IWF is part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, working with Childnet International and the South West Grid for Learning to promote the safe and responsible use of technology

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