2019 was yet another successful year for the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre's hotline. During the year, the hotline processed nearly 10,000 reports of illegal and harmful content, contacts, and conduct online. The hotline processed 9,289 reports, out of which 9,125 were about child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and another 12 concerned sexual grooming of a child online. 1,412 of the reports, traced to Bulgaria, were transmitted for investigation to the Cybercrime Unit of the General Directorate Combating Organised Crime. 7,711 of the reports were transferred to partner hotlines, members of INHOPE. It is worth noting that some 70 per cent of the reports were received from the other INHOPE hotlines.
Besides working on reports, the hotline staff participated in the Cyberscout Training Programme. This programme has been running for five years and in 2017 was awarded as one of 10 best practices by the European Crime Prevention Network. In 2019, more than 860 pupils aged 11-12 from 42 schools around the country passed two-day extensive trainings on online risks, methods of prevention, and reporting. After the training, the pupils formed their squads, prepared, and conducted various awareness initiatives involving another 1,000 of their peers. The 3 best Cyberscout squads received special certificates for excellence from the Cybercrime Unit during the national Safer Internet Day (SID) event. Over the years, Cyberscouts have also been reporting to the hotline suspected sexual grooming cases and profiles on social networks and advising their peers how to protect themselves and to report to the hotline.
For further information, the full 2019 public report of the Bulgarian SIC can be found on its website.
This article was initially published on the INHOPE website and is reproduced here with permission.
Find out more information about the work of the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.