UK-hosted child sexual abuse

UK hosting volume

The UK hosts a small volume of online child sexual abuse content. When we were founded in 1996, the UK hosted 18% of the global total; in 2020 this figure was just 0.1%.

In 2020, 180 URLs displaying child sexual abuse imagery were hosted in the UK, an increase of 14% from 158 URLs in 2019. However, in 35 cases the criminal content had already been removed by the time we received authorisation from the police to instigate its removal or it had moved hosting country already, leaving us with 145 URLs to take action on.

39 takedown notices relating to the 145 URLs were sent to UK hosting companies (we might send one notice for several webpages).

UK child sexual abuse content removal in minutes

We have to act quickly. The longer an image stays live, the more opportunity there is for offenders to view and share it, and more harm is caused to the victims.

In partnership with the online industry, we push to secure the rapid removal of this content. The ‘takedown’ clock ticks from the moment we issue a takedown notice to the hosting company, to the time the content is removed.

Fastest removal: 10 minutes

Content removal in minutes

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21 companies’ services in the UK were abused to host child sexual abuse images or videos during 2020. We issue takedown notices to UK companies, whether they’re in IWF membership or not.

18 companies who were abused were not IWF Members.

3 companies were IWF Members.

What can we do about this?

We use a minimum of three pieces of technology to trace the hosting location, then issue a takedown notice to the company which is hosting the material. Law enforcement are consulted during this process and evidence is retained for investigation.

Although the URL numbers are relatively small compared to the global problem, it’s important the UK remains a hostile place for criminals to host this content.

UK data


Non-photographic child sexual abuse