2018 Hotline.ie Annual Report

2018 Hotline.ie Annual Report

To mark the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (18 November) Hotline.ie is released its latest annual report.

Hotline.ie’s aim is to raise public awareness on the crucial importance of reporting suspect images and videos of children online.

 “Online child sexual abuse is not a victimless crime and there is nothing virtual about the child’s suffering. One child being sexually abused and exploited is one too many. By the public’s reporting of suspect images of children online to Hotline.ie, and by working in conjunction with law enforcement, Internet companies, and over 40 other Hotlines across the globe, it ensures that illegal imagery is removed from the Internet and the child victim may be identified, rescued from a life of suffering and their abuser brought to justice.”

– commented Ana Niculescu, Chief Executive of ISPAI Hotline.ie Service

The World Wide Web has been around for 30 years and for 20 of those the Hotline.ie service has been identifying and removing online images and videos of child sexual abuse, all stemming from anonymous public reports, and thus contributing to the protection of countless children within Ireland and abroad.

In 2018, Hotline.ie received more public reports than ever before (over 12,000)*, which in turn led to more child sexual abuse images and videos (CSAI) being identified, removed from the Internet and notified to law enforcement, namely 174% more CSAI than in 2017. “Every day the nature of Hotline.ie’s work exposes horrific acts, with each report a potential portal to the darkest and most monstrous side of humanity. However, with each child sexual abuse image identified and actioned instils a renewed sense of purpose knowing that we, as a society, are coming together to give a voice to child sexual abuse victims and survivors alike, and hopefully help in their journey to healing.”– added Ana Niculescu.

Key 2018 Hotline.ie findings:

  • 64% of reports classified as CSAI showed sexual activity between adults and children, including rape and sexual torture, of which 8% showed children appearing to be aged 3 and younger, 76% children aged between 4 to 12 and 16% children aged 13 to 16.
  • 11% of CSAI reports were found to be disguised websites* solely dedicated to child sexual abuse imagery distribution, each displaying hundreds of images and videos, a continuing trend (from 2014) with a year-on-year rise in incidence. Page 2 of 2
  • ie has traced CSAI to 25 countries worldwide, including Ireland. The sudden rise of CSAI being traced to the Netherlands [1 in 3 CSAI reports] and France [1 in 10 CSAI reports] lends to a concerning 2018 trend of CSAI being increasingly hosted* in Europe.
  • Despite no CSAI reports being found to be hosted from Ireland in 2017, by either Hotline.ie or any other Hotline worldwide; in 2018 1.6% of the CSAI reports were traced to Ireland*.
  • ie Analysts have noted the presence of virtual CSAI (i.e. drawings, cartoon images, computer generated pseudo-photographs and stories) occasionally found alongside images of real children in collections or on websites. While these represent less than 2% of 2018 CSAI reports, the content depicted severe “fictional” sexual abuse against childlike characters made to appear 10 years of age and younger [11% 3 and younger].


The digital version of the latest Hotline.ie Annual Report is available online as of Monday, 18th November 2019

Talk to someone

Worried about something you have seen online or concerned about your child? Childline and the National Parents Council Primary offer free advice and support service.

Childline is a support service for young people up to the age of 18.There is a 24hr telephone, online and mobile phone texting service.

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Sometimes you might unwittingly stumble across illegal online content like child abuse imagery. Always remember: you can report it and get it removed using Hotline.ie.

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