Secretary of State for DCMS’ Foreword

Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“The internet has been an incredible force for good in our lives, but sadly, as this report highlights, too many children continue to be exposed to appalling sexual exploitation and abuse online.

COVID has only added to this challenge, and the IWF has been a valuable partner during the crisis - working closely with the government to respond to threats and keep our youngest and most vulnerable members of society safe. The foundation’s hotline was a vital resource in this task, allowing content to be reported, investigated and removed as quickly as possible.

These latest figures, though, make it clearer than ever that internet companies need to do more to protect their youngest users. Right now, we are preparing to introduce an Online Safety Bill that will hold them to their responsibilities. The strongest protections are for children, and will ensure the UK is the safest country in the world to go online.”