IWF faces busiest year ever


The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is on track for its busiest year and is launching a major recruitment drive to help make the internet a safer place.

The IWF is the UK-based international charity responsible for finding and removing child sexual abuse material from the internet. Their analysts assess images and videos of child sexual abuse in a bid to eradicate them from the internet.

In 2019, the IWF had a record year, with analysts processing 260,400, up from 229,328 reports in 2018. Of these reports, 132,700 showed images and/or videos of children being sexually abused. This compares to 105,047 reports of child sexual abuse material in 2018.

This has been accelerated during the coronavirus crisis. Data published in July showed the IWF received 44,809 reports from members of the public between March 23 and July 9 this year.

In the same period in 2019, the IWF received, 29,698 reports – meaning there had been an increase of about 50% while the UK was under lockdown.

Now the award-winning charity is looking for “compassionate, organised, and meticulous” people to join its experienced and dedicated hotline team. Six of these will work as Image Classification Assessors, with one working as a Quality Assurance Officer.

New recruits will be part of a special new taskforce being set up within the IWF’s world-renowned hotline. They will be responsible for grading and “hashing” two million images.

The hashes of the images will be used by police and internet companies around the world to prevent the spread of images and videos of children suffering sexual abuse.

The taskforce will be based in the IWF’s headquarters in Cambridge. The work is intense, which is why all the roles are part time.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said candidates have a chance to make a real difference to children’s lives, but warned that this is not a job for everyone.

She said: “This is a tough job and only emotionally resilient people should apply. The interview stages will help us assess a candidate’s suitability to the role and successful candidates can expect a gold-standard welfare programme to support them with this task.

“Our staff are at the front line of a very real battle to keep children safe from predators online.

“The work is very much not for everyone, but those who are able to do it really are superheroes.

“They can go home every day and know they have made a difference to children’s lives. They know they can stop the spread of these images and videos across the internet, and that is the most rewarding thing on earth.

“The creation of this unprecedented new taskforce will really boost us at a time where we are dealing with more and more reports every year.”

The IWF is looking for people with attention to detail who can make accurate judgements and difficult calls.

Candidates of any age (over 18), and from any background, are welcomed.


IWF is an international charity working to make the internet a safer place by minimising the availability of online child sexual abuse videos and images.

IWF (Internet Watch Foundation)