Phone human-readable description of the message we trying to accomplish. Search human-readable description of the message we trying to accomplish. Map pin human-readable description of the message we trying to accomplish.

IWF uses cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. Find out more about cookies Hide

IWF policies

  • Simultaneous alert service for the removal of child sexual abuse content hosted abroad

    This service is designed to significantly reduce the length of time that child sexual abuse content remains available outside the UK by extending an alert mechanism to global hosting companies thereby reducing the availability of such content around the world and minimising the length of time web pages remain on our blocking list. To read more about this service click here.

  • IWL Licensees

    To complement the ‘notice and takedown’ service that the IWF provides to remove content within our remit from UK networks, in 2010 the IWF introduced a simultaneous alert service aimed at speeding up the removal of child sexual abuse content hosted outside the UK. This service is for IWF members and companies hosting content overseas.

    In March 2010 the IWF Board approved the following two policies:

    • IWL Licensees
    • The creation of a new category “IWL Licensee” for companies registering for simultaneous alerts that have no role to play in the UK’s self-regulatory framework for dealing with criminal content online.   

    Fees for IWL Licensees

    A starting fee of £3,000 p.a. for IWL Licensees to receive simultaneous alerts, with scope to increase to £5,000 p.a. if there is a significant workload generated by a specific company.

    IWL Licensees receive  simultaneous alerts but no other IWF services or benefits of membership  and they are not entitled to apply for membership of the IWF Funding Council.

  • General Complaints Process

    The IWF General Complaints Process covers general complaints about the IWF's service delivery including the behaviour of members of staff but does not cover appeals relating to the assessment of content leading to a notice being issued to take down potentially criminal content or the inclusion of a child sexual abuse content URL on the IWF URL List. To read more about this process click here.

  • IWF URL List Policy and Procedures

    Our Board has approved the policy and procedures which are adhered to regarding the assessment and listing of child sexual abuse URLs. To read more about these policy and procedures click here.

  • Content Assessment Appeal Process

    Our Board approved a new content assessment appeal process during 2010 which relates to our facilitation of the blocking initiative of child sexual abuse content. This ensures that anyone, including internet consumers who believe they are being prevented from accessing legal content, may appeal against the accuracy of an assessment. It also states the nine stages involved in an appeal including the responsibilities, actions and communications undertaken by the IWF, its Board and a relevant police agency. To read more about this content assessment appeal process click here.

  • Non-photographic child sexual abuse images added to the IWF’s remit

    In June 2009 the Ministry of Justice asked us to extend our national Hotline to enable the public to report online non-photographic visual depictions of the sexual abuse of children, covered by Sections 62 to 69 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Following consultation with our Funding Council of industry members, in October 2009 the IWF Board informed government of our agreement to fulfil this role from 6 April 2010. For more information about this click here.

  • Corporate Governance

    Following a review and wide consultation, the IWF introduced a number of changes to its governance in January 2004, these included a revised Constitution,Board Members Handbook, remit and a Code of Practice for our full members that host online content.

    We are committed to transparency in our decision making processes and policies and consequently we publish all Board minutes.

  • IWF Child Sexual Abuse Content URL List

    On 7 November 2002, IWF Board noted the legal advice which enabled the release of the child sexual abuse content URL list to IWF members for the purpose of implementing blocking or filtering solutions to protect their customers from being inadvertently exposed to abusive images of children. During Board meetings in late 2004 and 2005, IWF Board agreed the principles and procedures under which the child sexual abuse content URL list would be made available to members and under licence to specific non-members. To read more about this initiative click here.

  • Newsgroups

    In addition to the IWF’s procedures for effecting the removal of specific newsgroups postings containing child sexual abuse content, the IWF Board has approved a policy to combat paedophilic content in newsgroups:

    In November 2012, the Board adopted an updated newsgroups policy, which amalgamated two previous policies (Newsgroup content and Newsgroup Names). This policy sets out the principles on which the IWF will take action against newsgroups. The policy covers take-down notices, newsgroup names, monitoring and listing. The aim of the policy refresh was to develop a more robust framework for dealing with child sexual abuse content on newsgroups and simplify the process.


    When a report is received about a newsgroup that we are not aware of, the newsgroup is assessed to decide whether it should be added to the monitoring process. The name of the newsgroup is the first thing that is assessed to determine whether or not it meets the criteria for an advert for child sexual abuse. If a newsgroup does not meet the threshold required for monitoring, then any actionable content is dealt with by issuing a notice and take-down.

    Newsgroup monitoring process 

    When a newsgroup enters a monitoring process, actionable content is dealt with by issuing take down notices. The aim is to clear the newsgroup of actionable content, so that in the following month when it is due for review, only new content is assessed. Newsgroups are monitored on a monthly basis and only when actionable content has not been discovered for three successive months is the group removed from monitoring.

    Newsgroup Names 

    The newsgroup name is tested against the legal advice to see if it meets the criteria for an advert of Child Sexual Abuse content under the Protection of Children Act (1978). The newsgroup name is then either accept or rejected by the hotline manager for inclusion in the advert list. Once a year all newsgroups in the Advert List are checked to see if they are no longer carried by newsfeed providers, in which case they are removed from the advert list.

    Legal Advice

    As part of this policy development, the IWF received advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and our own independent Counsel. This legal advice will be reviewed once every five years to ensure that the IWF is complying with the relevant legislation and case law.

    The IWF continues to provide our members with updated data on a monthly basis about newsgroups that meet the above criteria. Many UK ISPs go much further than the IWF’s Board recommendations via their own company policies which restrict the newsgroups they carry.

  • Vetting Board and Staff

    IWF Board members and staff are subject to a vetting policy which includes enhanced disclosures from the Criminal Records Bureau. To read more about this policy click here.

Report here