Create digital safety through united action

Actions speak louder than words – and with this year presenting two decades of striving for a safer internet, INHOPE looks back on collective action results on the landmark event that Safer Internet Day is. And, as a global network, we look at ourselves and our impact on the association of hotlines across the years.

Date 2023-03-16 Author INHOPE Section awareness, hotlines Topic grooming, love, relationships, sexuality (online), media literacy/education, sextortion, sexual harassment Audience media specialist, organisations and industry, research, policy and decision makers, teachers, educators and professionals
Two young children looking at a tablet

Supporting and expanding the network of hotlines

INHOPE supports hotlines and its partner organisations through training, best practices, quality assurance and staff welfare. Safer Internet Day is an opportunity to unite our message and speak up for the member hotlines. 

Highlights from the years

In our efforts to accomplish our vision of a world free of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online, INHOPE supports our existing network of member hotlines and encourages the creation of new hotlines worldwide. INHOPE supports hotlines at each part of their journey, from creation, awareness-raising, and establishing a reporting structure to daily operation. The Swiss organisation, for instance, is currently in the process of establishing a national presence in the country.

To make establishing a hotline more accessible, INHOPE has launched a series of Quarterly Seminars, during which our network expansion team outlines the first steps of setting up a national hotline. Unlike a one-on-one meeting, the seminars taking place every three months offer all attending stakeholders an open space for discussion - not only with the INHOPE network expansion team but with each other. considering the increasing number of stakeholders in South and Central America, since January 2023 the Quarterly Seminars are also being offered in Spanish. Once an organisation has decided to become a member hotline of the INHOPE network, they receive our support in raising awareness among the public, establishing a national presence and creating a reporting structure.  We provide aspiring hotlines with a tailor-made hotline creation timeline to facilitate a streamlined process.

The cooperation of actions between the INHOPE and Insafe networks has enabled us to develop the necessary flexibility to keep up with fast-paced changes in the digital environment. For example, the Bulgarian hotline SafenetBG which became part of the INHOPE network in the year 2006, has made great strides in its efforts to protect children online. With continuous support from the network, the hotline has processed over 620.000 reports of harmful and illegal material so far. In 2015 the hotline was awarded by the Ministry of Interior for outstanding contribution to the work of law enforcement in the country. 

INCIBE Spain, ECPAT Philippines and APLE Cambodia were accepted as full members in 2021, and in November 2022, we expanded our network to 50 hotlines and welcomed Te Protejo México, Isigurt (CRCA) Albania, and NetPatrola Serbia, as full members. They had all applied for provisional membership in 2021. Furthermore, we are looking forward to welcoming Internet Hotline Centre Japan (SIEMPLE) and Thailand as full members as of May 2023. 

All these new INHOPE member hotlines represent our vision of establishing a global network of hotlines, especially in high-risk areas. Our target list always includes major internet usage expansion zones (Asia Pacific, South Asia, Latin America & Africa and MENA) as this is a vital factor in the removal of CSAM online. 

Capacity building, training and technology

We provide our network with a secure IT infrastructure “ICCAM” (hosted by INTERPOL) that facilitates the exchange of CSAM reports between hotlines and law enforcement. Additionally, we conduct regular quality assurance program (QAP) visits to member hotlines to ensure a healthy, supportive environment for all hotline analysts in our network. 

The strength of our hotlines is dependent on the tools they are provided, their ability to remove CSAM is directly linked to how we facilitate the training of analysts to handle reports and the exchange of data. 

Highlights from the years

The INHOPE ICCAM platform was developed by Ziuz Forensics with funding from the European Commission under the Safer Internet and Connecting Europe Facility programmes. Since the establishment of ICCAM, thirty-six hotline members have implemented it fully in their daily operations. 

In the foreseeable future, INHOPE is planning to interconnect the ICCAM structure with our tool Report Box. Developed under the umbrella of project ESCAPE, funded by the End Violence Against Children (EVAC) fund, Report Box is a plug-and-play solution for hotlines that want to start processing reports but might not have the capacity to create their own reporting structure. Over the past year, Report Box has gone through several technological advancements and has been updated based on feedback from our member hotlines.

To continuously ensure the highest standard of operation across the entire network, INHOPE provides technological tools to member hotlines and conducts regular regional content assessment and training sessions. On an annual basis, INTERPOL and INHOPE conduct joint regional training in high-risk areas such as Mexico City and Singapore in the year 2022.  

To truly feel the invaluable presence of a network, and the opportunity for knowledge-sharing and cooperation, INHOPE has implemented a peer-to-peer programme for member hotlines. During peer-to-peer exchanges, analysts from different hotlines get a chance to share best practices, get an insight into the workings of another hotline and exchange knowledge and experiences.

Advocacy and awareness

We promote for legislative and policy changes to support our vision of a digital world free from CSAM. The drive for change is more than about having a conversation. 

Highlights from the network

Our network of member hotlines works hard to continuously create, organise and publish educational and awareness resources. Over the past year, hotlines worldwide contributed in their own way to creating a better and safer internet for all. From participating in a panel discussion at the European Parliament on the new legislative proposal from the EU Commission, like ECPAT Sweden, or hosting online webinars on the topic of preventing child sexual abuse through adolescents such as Save the Children Denmark and Save the Children Finland - each of our members demonstrate great dedication to our mission.

Some hotlines, like SafeLine Greece, in collaboration with the Revenge Porn Helpline from the UK, even develop innovative online safety tools designed to support victims of non-consensual intimate image abuse, while others publish informative content, such as practical guides for parents or educational articles concerning the hypersexualisation of women in media.

To enable collaboration, and foster knowledge exchange amongst global industry partners, multi-stakeholders and trust and safety professionals, INHOPE has launched the Expert Insights webinars – a series of online sessions during which experts address current CSAM trends, discuss the latest technological developments, provide training, and best practices for hotline analysts and deep dive into the current state of our digital environment. 

One of the worrying trends recognised in 2022 was the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. To combat this INHOPE started a collaboration with ECPAT and their reporting platform “Don’t Look Away” which promotes reporting all around the world. As part of this campaign, INHOPE in collaboration with ECPAT published professional Resources for the Travel & Tourism sector to support us in the fight against child sexual exploitation. This campaign furthermore aimed to create awareness of the impact of reporting and encourage everyone to report any suspicious activity they encounter at home or while travelling. 

Recognising the importance of appropriate language when reporting cases of child sexual abuse material, as part of Safer Internet Day 2022, INHOPE launched a twelve-part mini-series “Shaping the story.” INHOPE developed a framework for media guidelines intended for media outlets and control standards to ensure that Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) stories follow best practices set by child protection organisations.

Inspired by last year’s success and on the occasion of the 20th edition of Safer Internet Day, in 2023 INHOPE has launched yet another 12-part mini-series. Under the SID tagline “Together for a better internet", this series is dedicated to publishing resources related to creating a better and safer internet for all. Watch out for our social media posts with the hashtag #Togetherforabetterinternet to read articles on relevant topics such as non-consensual intimate images, or how to protect girls online

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