Choose subject and filters Close subject and filters


Choose subject and filters Close subject and filters

Hotlines in the response ecosystem

Internet hotlines play a crucial role in a wider response ecosystem.

They provide structured and accountable mechanisms at national level to respond to public reports of CSAM and online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

They exchange crucial information through the global INHOPE network of hotlines to ensure that confirmed CSAM content can be removed from public access.

INHOPE member hotlines cooperate with local and international partners, support law enforcement, educate, raise awareness, contribute to the development of new technological solutions, and influence the change needed in their countries.

“The National Crime Agency and our international law enforcement partners value the information provided to us by the network of hotlines across the globe. The removal of child sexual abuse material from the internet is an important part of our fight against this abhorrent crime and the information provided to us by a hotline could prove to be the vital clue needed to identify a child being sexually abused.  

Online offending does not respect geographical boundaries, so in the same way that we work closely together as an international law enforcement community to tackle this crime, we also need the hotlines to work as closely together to enhance our collective efforts.

This means that hotlines need to be working in a consistent manner and to the same international standards so that we can be confident that every report is actioned as efficiently and effectively as possible to enable us to act on that information without delay.”

Johnny Gwynne, Director, CEOP Command, UK’s National Crime Agency

The online sexual exploitation and abuse of children is a global issue requiring a coordinated global response. No one country, sector or organisation can tackle it alone.

In recognition of this, there has been increased focus in recent years on the importance of building international cooperation and providing a framework for international coordination to combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

One important step towards this goal was the launch of the #WePROTECT Children Online initiative was launched in 2014. At the first WePROTECT Summit held in London in December 2014, 47 countries signed up to ambitious Statements of Action to enhance their national response to preventing and tackling online child sexual exploitation and abuse. A number of leading private sector companies, civil society organisations and international organisations also made commitments to enhance their own responses.

At the UK summit, the UK government committed 50 million GBP to establish a fund to build capacity to fight violence against children. Of this amount, 10 million GBP was dedicated in the first year to build capacity to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

UNICEF was designated to manage this new Global Fund, and was tasked with the allocation of funds for projects and organisations around the world to meet the mission of this important global initiative. From 2015-2016, the Global Fund has provided funding for numerous projects at national, regional and international level to build capacity to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

In November 2015, the second WePROTECT Summit was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to review progress, engage more governments to commit to statements of action, and to further international efforts to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

At the Abu Dhabi Summit in November, the proposed merger of the WePROTECT initiative with the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online was announced. In March 2016, this merger was formalised and the initiative is now the WePROTECT Global Alliance.

A model national response

Building capacity to combat online child sexual exploitation abuse is not an overnight process, and it requires a broad, holistic and multidisciplinary approach to the challenges. In order to guide and support countries in this process, the WePROTECT International Advisory Board (now the WePROTECT Global Alliance Advisory Board) commissioned the development of a framework to:

  • Enable a country to evaluate its current response to CSEA and identify gaps
  • Prioritise national efforts to fill gaps
  • Enhance international understanding and cooperation

The model, known as the Model National Response, was developed with cooperation and input by many experts and practitioners from different countries and organisations.

Internet Reporting Hotlines in the response ecosystem

Internet hotlines are an essential part of the national and international response to online child sexual exploitation and abuse. Because of this, Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (CSEA) Hotlines are specifically referenced as Capability #12 in the Model National Response.

This guide is designed to guide organisations and governments towards developing a CSEA Hotline as part of a national response strategy.

For more information about CSEA Internet hotlines currently in operation around the world, see the Global Research Project: A Global Landscape of Hotlines Combating Child Sexual Abuse Material on the Internet and an Assessment of Shared Challenges, produced by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2015 – Global Research Project.