Anglican Watch

IWF report on online child sexual abuse reveals disturbing trends

Anglican Watch

A recent annual report issued by the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) reveals disturbing trends in online child sexual abuse.

The IWF is a non-profit organization, which partners with the private, public and NGO sectors. Founded 25 years ago by a consortium of internet companies, IWF’s goal is to minimize, disrupt and stop the availability of child sexual abuse images and videos hosted anywhere in the world, and non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK.

Among the findings of the IWF report, which covered 2022:

  • 375,230 reports were assessed by IWF, a four percent increase over 2021.
  • 255,588 reports were confirmed as containing child sexual abuse imagery, having links to the imagery, or advertising it. This reflects a 1 percent increase from 2021. These reports are of websites and newsgroups.
  • Total number of actioned reports that were tagged as including self-generated content was 199,363. This reflects a nine percent increase over 2021, which was 182,281). There was a 13 percentage point increase (from 23% to 36%) in sexual abuse imagery of 7-10 year olds, (regardless of how it was created) and a 10 percentage point decrease (68% to 58%) in sexual imagery of 11-13 year olds compared to the year before. However, imagery of 11-13s is still the most prevalent.
  • IWF curated 1,663,106 quality-assured hashes – or digital fingerprints – of unique child sexual abuse images.


  • 66 percent of reports came from Europe, including Turkey and Russia.
  • 18 percent came from Asia.
  • 16 percent came from North America,

A small number of cases came from TOR and other hidden services, although this number is believed to be low due to the difficulty in tracking anonymous services.

Hosting-wise, countries with the greatest number of reports include:

  • The Netherlands, which accounts for 32 percent of all cases.
  • The United States, which accounts for 15 percent of all cases.
  • The Slovak Republic, which accounts for 12 percent of all cases.
  • The Russian Federation, which accounts for 5 percent of all cases.

IWF also reports significant increases in the number of boys who are victims.

The full report is below.


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