What is the IWF URL list?

We provide a list of webpages containing child sexual abuse images and videos hosted outside of the UK to companies who want to block or filter them for their users’ protection, and to prevent the repeat victimisation of the children in the images. We update the list twice a day, removing and adding URLs.

During 2020:

  • The list was sent across all seven continents.
  • A total of 147,232 unique URLs were included on the list (a 14% increase on 129,111 in 2019).
  • On average, 591 new URLs were added each day (522 in 2019).
  • The list contained an average of 5,747 URLs per day (5,565 in 2019).

Why is the URL List important?

When the URL List is deployed by a technology company, it prevents people from stumbling across known – and available – images or videos of children being sexually abused. In tandem, we recommend that companies show a “splash page” or information page in the event that someone tries to access a webpage which is on our list. This tells people why they can’t access the webpage and where they can go for help should they be worried about their online behaviour.

Since 2015, splash pages have resulted in 26,000 new users coming through to the Stop It Now! Get Help website.

“Splash pages are one a handful of vital tools we have to prevent online child sexual abuse. By blocking webpages that host illegal material, the IWF is preventing the re-victimisation of children by obstructing access to images of their abuse. But splash pages take things an important step further. They prevent offending by telling people who search for these images about the harm sexual abuse causes to children, and about the consequences for them and their families following an arrest.

The messages also direct people to help to stop offending, and more than 26,000 people have clicked through from a splash page to the Stop It Now! self-help website for people troubled by their online sexual behaviour towards children.

Along with the Stop It Now! helpline, these self-help resources are designed to support people tempted to offend to manage their thoughts and behaviours, and to understand the consequences of their actions. These are the people we need to reach to help prevent online child sexual abuse. We look forward to working closely with the IWF next year and beyond to extend our joint online offending deterrence work across the web.”

Donald Findlater

Director, Stop It Now! UK and Ireland helpline