Learnings, partnership and collaboration for a safe digital future

Learnings, partnership and collaboration for a safe digital future

Safe Online joins ECPAT and other partners to host a Regional Workshop to promote collective action to end child sexual exploitation and abuse in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

There is growing momentum and positive development of progressive child protection frameworks in Asia. In November 2019, ASEAN adopted the Declaration on the Protection of Children from All Forms of Online Exploitation and Abuse in ASEAN, followed by the Regional Plan of Action for the Protection of Children from All Forms of Online Exploitation and Abuse in ASEAN. These together with two regional guidelines for Comprehensive National Legislation Against All Forms of Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Provision of Protective and Support Services for All Child Victims and Children in Contact with the Law, launched at the 2nd Annual ASEAN ICT Forum on Child Online Protection in November 2023, have created a movement to strengthen regional coordination to prevent and response to online child sexual exploitation and abuse in ASEAN.  

Safe Online funded Disrupting Harm research project jointly implemented by ECPAT International, INTERPOL, and UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti has been significant in contributing to this momentum by generating unique insights on how online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) is manifesting in 13 countries – including Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam – and providing tailored roadmaps for countries to strengthen their prevention and response systems. The results are ground-breaking and are complemented with conversations with survivors in 12 countries, including Malaysia, Cambodia, and South Korea. 

The regional workshop will build upon the above-mentioned momentum, The two day workshop on March 5 and 6 led by ECPAT International along with partners like Safe Online is aimed at sharing experiences and lessons learned in combatting CSEA and strengthening the capacity of practitioners in identifying the best approaches on how to strategically engage with their governments and to support the global advocacy efforts to address this crime.   

The ECPAT Regional Workshop will be followed by a day long Safe Online Regional Network Forum on March 7. Bringing together 20 grantees and implementing partners directly working in the region with a particular focus in 8 countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, The Philippines and Viet Nam) the Forum will offer a space in which a group of selected grantees can connect and learn from each other and co-create a body of collaborative knowledge and solutions to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse in the context of other forms of violence against children.

Learn more about select grantees participating in the Safe Online Network Forum and their projects

UNICEF  Indonesia and the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Indonesia launched a national campaign #JagaBareng (“caring together”) to raise public awareness on online CSEA.

International Justice Mission

The Scale of Harm project is a pioneering methodology to estimate the prevalence of trafficking to produce new child sexual exploitation material in livestreamed videos, images, and recorded videos. Through a nationwide survey supplemented by IJM casework data and survivor experience, the study proves how widespread this form of online child sexual exploitation spreads across the Philippines. 

The study revealed that nearly half a million children were trafficked to produce new child sexual exploitation materials in 2022. That’s approximately 1 in every 100 Filipino children. Additionally, nearly a quarter of a million Filipino adults trafficked children for the purpose of creating these materials. Roughly 3 in every 1,000 adults participated in this crime.  

Plan International Pilipinas

The research study, Safeguarding young people from the dark path of self-facilitated live streaming of CSEA, aims to contribute to understanding the landscape of live streaming of CSEA, particularly those which are “self-facilitated” by older adolescents, to support efforts to prevent and address the live streaming of CSEA in the Philippines. The emphasis on self-facilitated live streaming is to address a critical gap in understanding the motivation and risk factors of online commercial sexual exploitation, as studies in the Philippines often focus on family-facilitated or externally facilitated commercial sexual abuse and exploitation. Plan and ECPAT Philippines will investigate the critical aspects of the demand and supply chain of self-facilitated live streaming of CSEA and will identify the gaps on current preventive and responsive policies and programs, based on these aspects, and develop, together with other stakeholders, policy recommendations and effective interventions to prevent and respond to live streaming of CSEA. 

Plan International Vietnam

The community-based OCSEA support project is implemented in most disadvantaged communities in two coastal provinces of Vietnam to support adolescents aged 10-18, particularly girls from ethnic minorities, access gender-responsive, survivor-centred cross-sectoral support for OCSEA through interdisciplinary coordination. 

The project’s SOPs for quality coordination to address online CSEA contributed significantly to identifying and addressing 6 cases with provision of comprehensive support services.  

Save the Children International

Protecting Children from Online Grooming: The Young & Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University and Save the Children conducted the ‘Protecting Children from Online Grooming’ study. Young & Resilient facilitated workshops with 597 children and young people aged between 9 and 16 across Australia, Cambodia, Finland, the Philippines, Kenya, South Africa and Colombia to learn about their thoughts and experiences regarding their online interactions. 

Preliminary research findings reveal that children routinely interact with people they don’t know online and respond with caution when approached, but they want tech companies and governments to do more to keep them safe. The findings also show that more than half were likely to speak about online safety to their parents, highlighting the importance of supporting caregivers with online safety education. 

UNICEF Cambodia

The Project aims to support the Royal Government of Cambodia to further strengthen a functional child protection system to prevent/respond to online and offline CSEA through innovative solutions in information management system, capacity building, enhanced coordination including with the private sector, empowerment of parents and young people. 

The Child Online Protection Guidelines for the Digital Technology Industry newly developed by the Royal Government of Cambodia, provide unparallel opportunities for nearly 100 industry players including mobile operators, social media, content creators, and App developers to enhance the online safety of every child and young person in respect of children’s rights across Cambodia. 

UNICEF Indonesia

UNICEF Indonesia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection and ECPAT Indonesia, is implementing a comprehensive approach to prevent and respond to Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OCSEA). This project builds upon an existing program, Safe and Friendly Environment for Children (SAFE4C), connecting prevention and response services from community to service providers to achieve sustainable protection results for children. The project focuses on three action areas: i Strengthen child protection policies, programs, and services to prevent and respond to OCSEA. ii. Enhance the engagement of children and their caregivers as active agents in the prevention of OCSEA and adaptation to digital parenting. iii. Build a robust evidence base to inform policies, advocacy, and programming to address OCSEA. The project is implemented in 10 districts/cities across three selected provinces in Indonesia. 

As part of the project, UNICEF Indonesia and the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (MOWECP) launched the national campaign platform entitled #JagaBareng or “caring together“.  The campaign aimed to raise public awareness and encourage participation in child online protection, with a particular focus on preventing OCSEA. Leveraging various social media platforms, the campaign successfully reached over 71.5 million internet users, including 26.6 million young internet users. META’s support for the Brand Lift Study further enhanced the campaign’s impact.  

Images:

© UNICEF / UN0671248

© UNICEF Indonesia / 2023

See more stories from our family of grantees

Children Online Protection Lab – Request for EoI

The objective of this Request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) is to develop a better understanding of the Children Online Protection Laboratory (COPL) community’s priorities, identify ideas and resources and co-construct next steps of the experimentation process.

Read More »

Children Online Protection Lab – Request for EoI

Children Online Protection Lab - Request for EOI

The objective of this Request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) is to develop a better understanding of the COPL community’s priorities, identify ideas and resources and co-construct next steps of the experimentation process. This Request for Expressions of Interest is open until March 3, 2024.

Safe Online’s collaboration with the Children Online Protection Lab

As a key partner of the Children Online Protection Lab, Safe Online supports the Secretariat in the development of its programs. The COPL is working to mobilise resources that could be landed at Safe Online with its established grant-making infrastructure. Safe Online will provide support for the operationalisation of a Fund where it will be able to receive financial contributions from donors. With its robust grant-making and investment infrastructure, Safe Online will support the development of the subsequent Call for Proposals, selection and evaluation of experimentation projects. 

Find out:

How You Can Participate

Woman writing in notebook

At this stage, submissions for both Calls are open to all; COPL supporters are warmly encouraged to participate.

Call for Ideas

Share a brief description of an experimentation idea you wish to develop, and the financial and non-financial resources needed for their implementation. 

Call for Resources

Share your organisations’ priorities on child online safety, and the financial and non-financial resources you could make available to support the development of the Laboratory’s experimentations.

Read more about the guidelines and requirements

The full Request for Expressions of Interest guidelines and an outline of both forms are available and can be downloaded in the links below. All final Expressions of Interest must be submitted via the online JotForm application. 

Questions?

If you have any questions, please reach out to Laboratoire.protection-enfance@diplomatie.gouv.fr.

Safer Internet Day 2024: Safe Online calls for making #SafeTechnology a key priority!

Safer Internet Day: Safe Online calls for prioritising #SafeTech to ensure a safe digital future for children & young people

The Issue

1 in 5 women and 1 in 13 men have experienced childhood sexual abuse. The issue is further exacerbated by the internet’s vast reach, leading to a shocking increase in child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA). The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has found there is now more child sexual abuse imagery being discovered on the open internet than ever beforewith almost every webpage it worked to remove in 2023 including “self-generated” material extorted from children who have been groomed or coerced by predators. 

Safe Online’s global flagship research project, Disrupting Harm, reveals that across 13 countries alone, up to 20% of 12 to 17-year-olds, amounting to over 5 million children in 2021, have experienced online CSEA.

Technology has made incredible advances over the last few years with generative Artificial Intelligence, and immersive platforms fast becoming a reality of our lives. With these new leaps, come new threats and dangers for children and young people. 

So far, we have been playing catch-up with technology – reacting to new and emerging threats after they have been introduced in our lives. Although countries are reacting to the onslaught of technological threats, their capacities for understanding, managing and regulating technology are extremely varied and regulations at the global level have hardly kept pace with rapid advancements in technology. 

Recent regulations, including the European Union regulation to combat child sexual abuse, the United Kingdom’s Online Safety Act and legislative changes in the U.S have often met with polarised debates around safety and security. The policy and regulatory vacuum at global and national levels combined with a fiercely competitive global market, has resulted in a digital ecosystem that evolves without sufficient consideration for the best interests of children and young people. Recent years have shown us early signs of a potentially troubling digital era, marked by intense technological progress that frequently moves forward without necessary safeguards or controls.

Which is why Safer Internet Day, on February 6, marks an important moment to come together to address urgent challenges. Governments, civil society, businesses, educators and children from across the globe are mobilising on this day to acknowledge and promote the theme of “Together for a better internet”.  

Safe Online believes that a better internet and a safer digital world is where all children and young people can safely enjoy all the benefits the online world has to offer. Now more than ever, there is an urgent need to make sure that this becomes a reality.

Making #SafeTechnology a key priority

Technology can and should be advanced, but its advancement can’t carry on unbridled – responsible and safe technology is not a given – it has to be prioritised by a steadfast commitment to embedding safety of children and young people across the digital ecosystem and actioning that through standards, policies, regulations and responsible investments at global and national levels.

We need to invest in research and data that help us to be forward-looking and understand how these new technologies are impacting children and young people. We need to ensure a ‘vulnerability lens’ for new tech developments and centre on survivors’ voices to prevent risks and threats.

We need governments, global forums, multistakeholder initiatives and the tech industry to prioritise a child-centred approach to advancing technology and to be guided by a clear set of principles and criteria for the same such as UNCRC’s General Comment no 25 and the Global Principles on Digital Safety. We need more coordinated action from Governments, tech companies, and multi-stakeholder initiatives to enhance digital safety on a global scale for all children and young people. 

While 2024 may have inherited the risks of 2023, it has also inherited its prospects. On this Safer Internet Day, let’s channel our efforts into making technology safer for children. We call for unified action in embedding safety in technology standards, policies, and global investments. It’s time for governments, tech companies, and stakeholders to prioritise a child-centred approach in advancing tech. #SafeTechnology is not just a goal, it’s a necessity for a secure digital future for children and young people.”

"While 2024 may have inherited the risks of 2023, it has also inherited its prospects. On this Safer Internet Day, let's channel our efforts into making technology safer for children. #SafeTechnology is not just a goal, it's a necessity for a secure digital future for children and young people."
- Marija Manojlovic, Executive Director, Safe Online

Prioritising safe technology for children and young people for a safer digital future requires a three-pronged strategy: 

Increase in global investment: We need increased, equitable investment globally to tackle digital harms. Safe Online has invested $100M across 100 projects in 86 countries since 2016, but more investment is critically needed.

Future-proof laws: Enact tech-neutral laws anticipating emerging dangers. Mandate safety by design and proactive measures to safeguard children to prevent potential abuses. 

Innovative tech: Leverage cutting-edge technology for protection. Our Safe Online tech portfolio pioneers tools that detect abuse material, verify age, and pierce the dark web veil. Technology for good is our proven strategy. 

Safe Online Impact

The past year was a busy and impactful one for Safe Online – we further strengthened global efforts to make the internet safe for children – from strategic investments to critical research and advocacy, Safe Online has been at the frontline of the battle to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse. 

Taking forward our mission of leveraging cutting-edge technology for protection of children and young people, Safe Online recently invested USD $2 million across 10 innovative projects to seed and grow solutions that leverage existing and new technologies to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) adding to our overall investment of nearly $20 million for technology tools since 2016. The new projects will focus not only on technology solutions, but also include research around the use of tech solutions for the two key areas – age assurance and live streaming of abuse in the online CSEA ecosystem.

In the past year alone, Safe Online successfully leveraged key strategic opportunities including high-level events, multi-stakeholder convenings and meetings with Ministers, tech-industry leaders and other key actors to elevate the profile of child online safety, placing it at the forefront of political and sectoral discussions and calling for making safe technology a key priority through strategic investments, and future-proof and tech-neutral standards and regulations. This included participation in the Internet Governance Forum, the launch event of U.S President Biden’s Executive Order on AI and the Paris Peace Forum.  

Finally, the launch of the new Safe Online brand in 2023 led to a renewed commitment to our mission of shaping a digital world that is safe and empowering for all children and young people, everywhere.

Since 2016, Safe Online has been at the forefront of the global battle against online CSEA, investing nearly US $100 million in over 100 projects across 85+ countries.

So far, through our investments, Safe Online has advanced national legal, regulatory and policy frameworks in 70 countries.

20 innovative technology tools deployed in 100+countries

Over 1,500 industry partners have agreed to ICT standards to protect children from online violence since 2017. 

Since 2017, Safe Online has supported 51 reporting mechanisms to identify and remove online CSAM.

Safe Online has helped set up Law Enforcement units in 11 countries. 

So far, Safe Online investments in developing and strengthening ground-breaking technology tools has helped law enforcement identify over 3200 perpetrators; identify 5,533 child victims of online CSEA; and refer over 2600 to rehabilitation services.

What are Safe Online grantees doing to support a Safer Internet Day? Read here

Image: © UNICEF

See more stories from our family of grantees

Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund announces additional funding of US $500k to select existing grantees for research extension, product development & innovation

The Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund is granting 4 awards to further accelerate the work of organisations from the first cohort of grantees. The additional funds will be for a duration of 12 months and will support projects to extend research to applications such as piloting solutions, technical collaboration and innovation efforts.

Read More »

Safer Internet Day 2024 – Updates from Safe Online Grantees

Safer Internet Day 2024: Updates from Safe Online Grantees

Safer Internet Day, on February 6 2024, marks an important moment to come together to address urgent challenges. Governments, civil society, businesses, educators and children from across the globe are mobilising on this day to acknowledge and promote the theme of “Together for a better internet”.  

What are Safe Online grantees doing to support a Safer Internet Day?

Read more:

Age Check Certification Scheme

Social media campaign and video promoting online safety and the importance of keeping safe online.

Age Check Certification Scheme 

Childline Zimbabwe

Engagement of children through educational games on online safety: Childline Zimbabwe, in partnership with the Harare Institute of Technology,  developed and deployed an educational game: “Tsuro In Digiland”. The game aims at educating children about how to stay safe online.The initiative was in response to how children make use of the internet for various reasons which include gaming where most of the games they play are “unsafe”. The game has 3 main components that enhance its effectiveness; 1. Educational, 2. Entertaining & 3. Non-addictive. The game is currently available on Google Play Store for android powered devices but will later be available for iOS and Desktop devices as well. The game currently has 100+ downloads and they are now working on the second game that will be targeting a different age-group. “Tsuro in Digiland” was developed targeting the age range of 9-13 years.  On Safer Internet Day, Childline will engage children in schools to raise awareness through game based learning.

Download the game: here 

https://www.childline.org.zw/  

Dragon +

Attending and contributing to the symposium ‘Inspiring Change and Driving Innovation in Safeguarding’ at Aston University, Birmingham, U.K.

Leading voices in safeguarding and linguistics and will demonstrate how cutting-edge linguistic research is driving change and leading innovation in online safeguarding. DRAGON-S team has been invited to present as key players in this landscape, including insights from their Online Child Sexual Grooming Discourse publication. The symposium will feature a diverse range of stakeholders, including safeguarding charities, EdTech industry representatives, and academics.

https://www.swansea.ac.uk/project-dragon-s/dragon/

ECPAT International

Digital organic campaign targeting parents, teachers and people who are in close contact/care about children. Appointed landing page for SID24 on ECPAT International website focusing on Prevention, Reporting Mechanisms and what ECPAT is doing in the world regarding online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

https://ecpat.org/ 

Kindred Tech

Revolutionising Support for Frontline Heroes! Introducing ‘The Auditor’

This #SafeInternetDay, Kindred Tech is proud of ‘The Auditor,’ a groundbreaking project that merges automation, AI, and lived experiences to create a tool designed to reduce vicarious trauma for frontline workers at call centres and streamline the progress of complaints regarding harmful online content to investigations. 

Key Features of ‘The Auditor’:

✨ Vicarious Trauma Reduction: With a focus on the well-being of frontline heroes, ‘The Auditor’ employs innovative Artifical Intelligence (AI) to handle and process distressing content, minimising the impact on those working tirelessly to keep our online spaces safe.

✨ Automated Support: Harnessing the power of automation, this tool expedites the complaint-to-investigation process, ensuring that harmful online content is swiftly addressed.

✨ Lived Experiences Integration: ‘The Auditor’ incorporates real-world experiences, understanding the unique challenges faced by frontline workers, to provide targeted and empathetic support.

This #SafeInternetDay, let’s champion a digital space where our frontline heroes are supported, and harmful content is promptly addressed. ‘The Auditor’ marks a significant step towards a safer, more compassionate online community.

Spread the word, share the message, and let’s empower our frontline workers with the tools they need to make the internet a safer place for everyone!  

Pathfinder Labs

Release of public promotion of Jaeger. In honour of #SafeInternetDay, Pathfinder Labs is thrilled to unveil Jaeger – a cutting-edge tool designed to monitor live streams and detect harmful content, including child abuse in order to foster a digital space where everyone can connect, create, and communicate without fear.

Key Features of Jaeger:

✨ Real-time Monitoring: Jaeger keeps a vigilant eye on live streams to swiftly identify and flag any harmful content.

✨ Advanced AI Technology: Powered by state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, Jaeger evolves and adapts to stay ahead of emerging online threats.

✨ Child Protection:  Commitment to a safer online world includes a focus on detecting and preventing child abuse content.

https://pathfinderlabs.nz/

Protect Children Finland

Protect Children is organising the 4th Annual ReDirection International Expert Webinar that will take place online on 14 March 2023 @15:00 CET. In the webinar, leading experts in the field will uncover the escalating threat of technology-facilitated crimes of sexual violence against children. Protect Children will share the latest findings about the prevalence of child sexual abuse material on the surface web, and present select findings from the Global ‘Our Voice’ Survivor Survey. Register here: 

Statement: Alarming Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse Material on Social Media and Instant Messengers

Preliminary findings from Protect Children’s latest research on CSAM users in the dark web reveal that 81% of respondents say that they have encountered child sexual abuse material, or links leading to CSAM, on the surface web, mostly on social media and pornography sites.

It is more urgent than ever to turn the tide on the child sexual abuse material epidemic. Learn more in the statement by Protect Children. Read full statement

https://www.suojellaanlapsia.fi/en 

Red Papaz

Engagement with children, parents and caregivers via the Héroes de Cero (Power of Zero) campaign

The campaign aims to educate families about the milestone moment when they introduce their child to their first device. Using animated videos and a digital parenting toolkit, the campaign sparks open communication about online safety and using technology responsibly, and empowers parents to instil good cyber habits and values of respect and kindness from the moment they introduce their children to their first phone or tablet.

Héroes de Cero (Español) – YouTube 

https://www.redpapaz.org/

T3k.ai

Launching a new subsite focused on Safety Tech- https://www.orthus.ai/ 

https://www.t3k.ai/ 

UNICEF Cambodia and Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPTC) Cambodia

Together for a Safer Digital Future : Panel discussions including participation from youth, digital technology industry and government, interactive activities including games and/or quiz on topics relating to cyber-bullying, ethics on creating and publishing content, social media, reporting of online child sexual exploitation and abuse cases to be organised. 

https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/ 

UNICEF Madagascar

Together for a Safer Digital Future : Panel discussions including participation from youth, digital technology industry and government, interactive activities including games and/or quiz on topics relating to cyber-bullying, ethics on creating and publishing content, social media, reporting of online child sexual exploitation and abuse cases to be organised. 

https://www.unicef.org/madagascar/en 

UNICEF South Africa

Support for Government commemoration of Safer Internet Day and engagement with young people on online safety. Safer Internet Day is commemorated by the Government of South Africa, led by the Film and Publication Board (FPB) with support from multiple government departments such as Department of Social Development (DSD), Department of Basic Education (DBE), South African Police Service (SAPS), and Department of Communications and Information Technology (DCIT). UNICEF South Africa plans to support the commemoration event, either through a speaker or the engagement with young people. 

UNICEF and its implementing partner Agape Youth Movement and Media Monitoring Africa are planning to have youth engagement activities on the occasion of Safer Internet Day.

https://www.unicef.org/southafrica/ 

UNICEF Indonesia

UNICEF Indonesia, in collaboration with key partners, including the Children’s Forum, is set to organise a diverse range of activities aligned with the national campaign theme using #JagaBareng (caring for each other), which was launched in 2023 for the prevention of Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OCSEA). These activities encompass updating the current social media context, launching the Online #Jagabarang jingle choreography challenge, and hosting a webinar. 

https://www.unicef.org/indonesia/child-protection/jagabareng

UNICEF Ghana

Engagement of children, parents and caregivers in school and community settings and via social and mass media. All the activities will be done as part of the ongoing Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA) campaign/social drive.

✨Engagement with selected schools ( targeting adolescents/ young people)

✨Awareness raising sessions with churches (targeting parents)

✨Media engagement with selected media houses

✨Social media engagement with child online protection messages/assets – via GACA, the government partner and UNICEF social media platforms

✨Sub-national government authorities would also be encouraged to do some community engagements with the Child Protection Community Facilitation Toolkits on online safety. 

GACA on X

GACA on Facebook

GACA on Instagram

5Rights Foundation

Attending the Ctrl + Rights International Conference. 5Rights is knowledge partner and developed the concept and agenda of the event together with the Swedish Prince Couple’s Foundation (Prins Carl Philips och Prinsessan Sofias Stiftelse). 5Rights Chair Baroness Kidron will deliver the keynote to the event and Executive Director Leanda Barrington-Leach will participate in a panel on DSA. The conference will take place on Safer Internet Day (Feb 6), in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Image: © Safe Online/Vincent Tremeau

See more stories from our family of grantees

Safer Internet Day 2024 – Updates from Safe Online Grantees

Safer Internet Day, on February 6 2024, marks an important moment to come together to address urgent challenges. Governments, civil society, businesses, educators and children from across the globe are mobilising on this day to acknowledge and promote the theme of “Together for a better internet”.

What are Safe Online grantees doing to support a Safer Internet Day?

Read More »

End violence hosts its 10th global knowledge exchange webinar

On 17 June, End Violence held its 10th Global Knowledge Exchange Webinar, which gathered 117 individuals from partner and grantee organisations around the world. This webinar, the third event held in 2020, focused on integrated, child-centred frameworks for investigation, rehabilitation and recovery for survivors of online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Read More »

Joint Stakeholder Statement: Call on policymakers to swiftly adopt the extension of the ePrivacy derogation

Joint call on policymakers to swiftly adopt the extension of the interim ePrivacy derogation

Joint Stakeholder Statement

Brussels, 23 January 2024 The undersigned organisations have been participating, from different angles, in the discussions surrounding the proposal laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse. All signatories share the same goal, which is to create and maintain a safe online environment for children, to detect and remove child sexual abuse (CSA) content online, and to ensure the investigation of offenders, in a manner that is compatible with privacy and human rights.

Image: ©UNICEF

See more stories from our family of grantees

Safer Internet Day 2024 – Updates from Safe Online Grantees

Safer Internet Day, on February 6 2024, marks an important moment to come together to address urgent challenges. Governments, civil society, businesses, educators and children from across the globe are mobilising on this day to acknowledge and promote the theme of “Together for a better internet”.

What are Safe Online grantees doing to support a Safer Internet Day?

Read More »

Safe Online Progress Snapshot 2023

Safe Online Progress Snapshot 2023

A year of progress, challenges and key milestones for Safe Online

2023 was a year of big strides on the digital landscape characterised by the rapid evolution of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and immersive platforms. However, these technological innovations are also bringing forth new and evolving challenges, impacting some of our most vulnerable, particularly children and young people.  

The challenges to children’s online safety have never been more significant, and demand an unprecedented response. Our work, now more critical than ever, has risen to meet these challenges. From strategic investments to critical research and advocacy, Safe Online has been at the frontline of the battle to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse. 

This year also marks the beginning of Safe Online’s independent journey and our transition from the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. Our new role as a global funding vehicle enables us to renew our commitment to our core purpose; to protect and empower children and young people throughout the digital world.

Celebrating our investments and innovations!

This year we launched a US $10 million global open call to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse and awarded an additional US $5.5 million to generate crucial data and evidence building on learnings generated in previous rounds, from tech solutions to systems strengthening and policy development.​

We welcomed 10 new trailblazing grantees into the Tech Solutions fold with innovative projects and awarded 4 new projects as part of our Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund to advance the journey from research labs to the frontlines of tech. 

Since 2016, Safe Online has been at the forefront of this global battle against online CSEA, investing over US $77 million in over 100 projects across 85+ countries. Through our investments, Safe Online is rewriting the future of online safety. 

Disrupting Harm's Global Leap: Flagship research project on online CSEA expands to 11 new countries!

This year, 11 new countries: Armenia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Jordan, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Serbia and Tunisia announced the implementation of Disrupting Harm in their respective countries. This second round of investment by Safe Online (totalling USD $7.5m) will expand Disrupting Harm to 4 more regions and enable robust research on online child sexual exploitation and abuse, conducted by Disrupting Harm partners ECPAT International, INTERPOL and UNICEF Innocenti with support from national expert organisations. By 2025, each participating country will be armed with evidence-informed action plans, tailored to fortify their defences against online child exploitation.

Key Moments and Strategic Opportunities

In 2023, Safe Online leveraged over 60 strategic opportunities including high-level events, convenings and meetings to elevate the profile of child online safety, placing it at the forefront of political and sectoral discussions and ensuring it remains a priority across various levels and sectors.

Highlights include: 

Fostering collaboration to tackle online CSEA: In September, Tech Coalition and Safe Online organised a research fund convening in San Francisco, California bringing together 11 grantees and 25 representatives from the tech industry, creating a platform for sharing knowledge and fostering technical collaboration. The convening took place on the margins of the Stanford Trust & Safety Research Conference on 28-29 September 2023 where Safe Online organised a session with research grantees, sharing the lessons learned from the Research Fund and promoting the insights from research and data on online CSEA.

Safe Digital Futures for Children: Aligning Global Agendas Safe Online’s session, attended by key government partners from Australia, France, Ghana, and the United States of America, international organisations and technical experts, at the Internet Governance Forum in Kyoto, Japan sparked crucial conversations on  fragmentation in the digital landscape and emphasised the necessity for evidence-based research and data to bridge gaps across various global digital agendas, including cybersecurity, child online safety, and tech-facilitated gender-based violence. 

In partnership with the French Children Online Protection Lab and the WeProtect Global Alliance, Safe Online organised the Safe Digital Futures for Children: Data for Change event in November in Paris, France, in which over 50 technical experts participated. The event strengthened the conversation on the availability and quality of data related to online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (CSEA) and brought together a community of experts to build on the existing work towards a more reliable, comparable, and comprehensive data ecosystem on online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (CSEA).

Safe Online participated in the Paris Peace Forum in a session led by Ambassador Henri Verdier, Ambassador for Digital Affairs, France and attended by Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister for Digital Transitions and Telecommunications, France and other experts. Safe Online Executive Director, Marija Manojlovic advocated for fortified child-centric digital prevention and response mechanisms to online child sexual exploitation and abuse. 

A Milestone Moment at the G7 Meet in Mito, Japan: Safe Online’s Call to Action

As the year drew to a close, Safe Online stepped onto the global stage again at the prestigious G7 Security and Interior Ministers’ Meet in Mito, Japan. Safe Online’s lead, Marija Manojlovic, urged the G7 nations to unite in their efforts against online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) by boosting international funding, harmonising legislations and standards and advancing safety technology.

Innovative Partnerships -Forging an Alliance for a Safer Digital Future

Safe Online this year formalised a groundbreaking partnership with the French Children Online Protection Lab. This collaboration will unite the expertise, resources and passions of both organisations to forge a more secure online world for children globally. 

As part of the partnership, Safe Online and the Children Online Protection Lab will align our governance structures and support an exciting series of pilot projects where Safe Online will leverage its existing infrastructure to support and enhance the Lab’s experimentations.

Safe Online joins the Lanzarote Committee: 

This year marks another significant milestone for Safe Online, as we proudly joined the esteemed Lanzarote Committee as an Observer. This collaboration opened a new chapter in our relentless pursuit to combat the growing threat of online CSEA and we remain strongly committed to continue working with key stakeholders to transform the capacity of national, regional and global systems to combat the escalating threat of online CSEA and the opportunity of closely collaborating with the Lanzarote Committee.  

New Safe Online Brand!

And finally, this year, Safe Online launched our new brand, a significant milestone in our ongoing mission to create a safer digital world for children and young people.

We invite you to view our brand video and learn more about our renewed commitment: Safe Online’s Brand Video

Images: © Safe Online, UNICEF

See more stories from our family of grantees

Children Online Protection Lab – Request for EoI

The objective of this Request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) is to develop a better understanding of the Children Online Protection Laboratory (COPL) community’s priorities, identify ideas and resources and co-construct next steps of the experimentation process.

Read More »

Tech Industry and Researchers come together to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse

Tech Industry and Researchers come together to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse

Promoting action from research

2024 Collaboration Announcement

We’re excited to announce that Safe Online and Tech Coalition’s partnership is entering its 4th year! With a generous USD $500,000 from the Tech Coalition, we’re set to enhance the impact of 13 research projects that play a crucial role in developing resources and applications for the tech industry. This effort is part of our ongoing commitment to combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse. 

Safe Online’s collaboration with the Tech Coalition addresses a crucial gap in the online child safety ecosystem for research funding that is aligned with industry trends, policymaking, and practical applications. Over the next year Safe Online will aim to maximize the impact of the current investments and build on this pivotal  partnership with the Tech Coalition.

The main aim of the Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund is to use the research to impact tech industry practices and steer technological developments. We do this not only through our research but also by organizing strategic events and engagements, to provide space and platform for the tech industry and researchers to share insights from the research projects. These events are key to translating these insights into products and practices that can significantly enhance the protection of children online. See an example of a recent convening below. 

Why we came together – 2023 Research Fund Convening

More than 45 participants, a combination of researchers supported by the Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund and tech professionals, came together in San Francisco to discuss emerging findings from research and actions that the tech industry can take to protect children online. 

What we covered

The day started with a public panel to share insights about this unique initiative and hear from collaborators who have made this work possible. Made up of industry members, independent experts and researchers, the panel was united in its call for more cross-sectoral collaboration, the need for greater inclusion of underrepresented geographies and groups, and the real impacts that the research projects from this fund are already having.

Marija Manojlovic, Executive Director, Safe Online made the exciting announcement that the Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund is granting 4 awards to further accelerate the work of organisations from the first cohort of grantees. The additional funds are for a duration of 12 months and will support projects to extend research to applications such as piloting solutions, technical collaboration and innovation efforts.  Read more here

We then dove straight into the research findings with a lightning round of presentations followed by a marketplace that gave tech professionals the chance to talk to researchers and understand what the findings mean for them. 

In the afternoon we took a deep dive into the research themes with small groups unpacking the opportunities and challenges around grooming, user reporting, prevention and wellness and deterrence and offender behavior. We ended the day focusing on action – linking up researchers with tech professionals working in operations, policy and product to discuss how to continue to strengthen the links across sectors to better protect children online.

How the day went

Overwhelmingly, participants were excited about the new and strengthened connections with other experts working on the issue –both within the research and tech communities and across both sectors.

“Meeting the other researchers and hearing about their work was perhaps the most useful because it made me feel like part of a movement for change - and we can all do with feeling a bit of unity in this field”
- Amanda Third, Young & Resilient Research Centre, University of Western Australia
“Valuable connections were made for professional networking and information sharing - we solved mutual problems together!”
- Tech industry participant feedback from post-workshop survey

The research projects range from linguistic analysis that can track patterns of grooming, to understanding more about perpetrator behaviors, to increased evidence around parents’ awareness of online abuse. The Research Fund has a focus on promoting action, making it even more valuable to bring researchers together with tech professionals. 

“I found it practical and action-oriented. I think there was a very fluid dialogue where we managed to put everyone's needs and work into perspective”
- Lina María Saldarriaga, Universidad de los Andes

There was a high level of consensus on the day about ensuring that research in this area is practical, actionable and is fast paced enough to make a change in the tech industry.

“Researchers could reflect on methods and think about the minimum viable product – a gold standard works in a vacuum but not real-world contexts. What matters is what’s making a difference.”
- Group discussion on policy

There is a lot of enthusiasm and energy to continue collaboration through a community of practice and individual connections that were made on the day. 

Overall, we received incredible feedback from the attendees at the convening. Both research grantees and tech industry participants appreciated the chance to learn, exchange ideas, and have open and honest discussions.  Participants highlighted the need for more such events bringing together researchers and tech partners to share learning, and to receive tailored research insights at regular intervals in order to  grow and strengthen this unique new community of practice.

We want to build on the enthusiasm from the day and keep the momentum going. As a next step, the TC Safe Online Research Fund will keep working to set up effective ways to share findings from research, increase researchers’ knowledge of how different platforms work, promote collaboration and most importantly action.

The Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund is investing in knowledge and research to end online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA). The Tech Coalition and Safe Online joined hands in 2020 to collectively work to support knowledge and research towards ending online harm. Going into its 4th year, the Fund is continuing its focus on innovative research that produces actionable insights to impact product and policy development, with a priority given to research that can help inform the technology industry’s approach to combating online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Image: © UNICEF:UN355768

See more stories from our family of grantees

End violence hosts its 10th global knowledge exchange webinar

On 17 June, End Violence held its 10th Global Knowledge Exchange Webinar, which gathered 117 individuals from partner and grantee organisations around the world. This webinar, the third event held in 2020, focused on integrated, child-centred frameworks for investigation, rehabilitation and recovery for survivors of online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Read More »

11 new countries join flagship global initiative to combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse

In today’s increasingly digital world, the internet has become an integral part of children and young people’s lives, providing enormous opportunities for communication, education and entertainment. At the same time, it can also present a serious threat to their safety and well-being. Unfortunately, there is very little solid evidence available on the scale of these risks, which groups of children are more likely to be harmed, and where or how this happens.

Read More »

Reflections: Safe Digital Futures for Children – Data for Change

Reflections: Safe Digital Futures for Children – Data for Change

Envisioning a digital world with the rights of children at the core

It has been a month since Safe Online together with the French Online Child Protection Laboratory and WeProtect Global Alliance met in Paris, France to host the second Safe Digital Futures for Children: Data for Change event.

Safe Online’s experts Serena Tommasino and Natalie Shoup came together to reflect on the event, what the initiative means for the child online safety community and what success looks like.

Q: What does “Safe Digital Futures for Children and Young People” mean?

Natalie: When we came up with the name, we were trying to reflect on alignment of all digital harms against children and a proactive way of building the future, building many futures, actually. We were trying to include the diversity of children’s experiences in the various ways of imagining our future. This also goes back to our own Safe Online mission – and the fact that digital is not necessarily just online. So, for me, Safe Digital Futures was getting at all the different threads we were trying to pull together

Serena: For me, the name is about building the backbone and infrastructure of a safe digital world for all children and young people.  Connectivity is growing and eventually all children will be connected or immersed in digital environments. We are heading towards a future where terms like offline and online will not make sense anymore – we will be immersed in the digital world, and we will not think about it as such. In fact, children of this generation have already made this transition.

The name, therefore, refers to the future digital world we need! A place designed with children’s safety in mind, especially the safety of the most vulnerable groups of children and young people. Today the digital world is designed by and for adults, and this is why we need to envision a future digital world that enables children to navigate with strong and age-appropriate safeguards to prevent risks and threats of violence.

Q: Why is data relevant for a safe digital future?

Serena: The design is the result, but how can we design a safe digital world without knowing how and where children and young people are at risk? The change that we want needs to be informed by comprehensive and quality data and evidence, including the perceptions and voices of children and young people from across the world. We do not only need better and reliable data, but also collaboration, capacity and sustained political support to ensure data is used effectively. This is why we named the initiative ‘data for change’!

The hidden nature of online child sexual exploitation and abuse

How can we make a difference for this and future generation of children without adequate resources?

Natalie: Echoing that, there is currently not only a fragmented data landscape but also fragmented investment in capacity and infrastructure. When we are speaking about data, we are referring to the whole ecosystem. So not just datasets, but also data resources, technical expertise, ethical principles, legal agreements, relationships, technology infrastructure, etc. We need this full picture of data to inform more dynamic systems and anticipatory frameworks so that we are not always reactive. 

Rates of change are increasing for not only how quickly technology is evolving but also how rapidly it is affecting the nature of our daily lives. This is adding complexity to an already massive challenge in keeping children safe online. There is a huge opportunity and need to use data to frame this conversation more proactively and create the groundwork for a shared way forward so that this does not become an ongoing exercise in firefighting but rather in strategically shaping our digital futures. 

Q: What was your experience with data coming into this initiative?

Natalie: This is an interesting question especially considering how everyone in the workshop had diverse expertise and experiences and came in thinking about data from different perspectives. It’s good to reflect on this while thinking about our own experience with data.

I have a background in data science, and I’ve worked a lot with data for social good including thinking about data governance, data privacy and data ethics. I see a lot of potential to find ways to put narratives and learnings from those topics within the context of and in service of child safety.

When we did the first data initiative in 2021 and again this year, I realised there is so much that exists in terms of data governance and data ethics work, and we have an opportunity to learn from other communities doing this work. But I also realised diving into this, that there’s so much that’s so unique about our field – for instance, how technology is intertwined, the sensitivity of much of the data, how the issues evolve so quickly. So, while we can learn from other communities and build on certain things there’s so much that is unique in our space and needs to be done very thoughtfully with people who understand this problem. If we are able to figure some of these things out in collaborative and dynamic ways, that can offer other folks a lot of potential to learn from our space too.

Serena: Every sector or professional, based on their experience and expertise, will see, think and talk about data in a different way and that remains one of the key barriers when we’re trying to align different data sets to create a more comprehensive and harmonised picture. For instance, law enforcement will have their own expectations from data as something that is going to lead them to identify the victim and bring the perpetrator to justice. Academics will focus more on sampling, methodology and quality. Professionals will want easy to use data for programming, policy and advocacy. This variety is a richness, but it’s also a challenge; because it’s about building bridges for people to talk to each other, understand different datasets, terminologies and working modalities and see how to better align efforts across sectors and levels.

Q: What was the biggest challenge and success in organising this workshop?

Natalie: The biggest challenge going into the workshop was striking the right balance in capacities to approach the data landscape effort that came out as a priority from the 2021 convening and was used to inform the conversations for this year’s workshop. The key question was do we bring in data experts and then try to complement the content expertise or do we bring in someone from our ecosystem and try to bolster or find some way to connect them to data expertise so that they’re not starting from scratch.

Our team is a great example of a mix of expertise and perspectives coming together and being able to look at the data ecosystem in collaborative ways with the goal of identifying concrete places to advance this work. We hope to take what we are learning in our team’s experience with these efforts so far to better build bridges and spaces for the wider ecosystem to do the same.

Serena: The biggest success was bringing the right people into the room and creating a safe space for them to share and learn from each other. We are grateful to all the participants who not only joined us but who were willing to be open and very engaged to build a better data ecosystem for child online safety.  

Natalie: I agree, a success for me was the openness with which people approached the workshop and the fact that we heard from people that they came away with new ideas and connections. This group of people have invaluable expertise based on their work and perspectives and coming into the workshop some challenges to current ways of working were presented for people to sit with – of trying to make some shifts in looking at data not in terms of our individual organisational mandates and in silos but instead in more comprehensive and harmonised ways.  By the end of the two days, we heard from many participants that they had changed their minds in some way in how they think about data. Some said, “Maybe I didn’t know everything that I thought I did” or “It’s important for me to see this differently.” This feedback and engagement of the community we brought together was hugely positive for me.

Q: What does the future with this initiative look like?

Natalie: In the longer term, one important focus is creating mechanisms for data governance and seeing that take shape – it is incredibly important in any data ecosystem, and it doesn’t exist for this field as a whole yet. We also want to see shifts in narratives and more inclusion as well. In fact, being intentional about inclusion of different actors that aren’t well represented is an immediate next step and then also over time, having a more inclusive ecosystem as a whole.

Serena: With data, we will be able to quantify, understand and contextualize risks and the extent to which children and young people experience the abuse in order to prevent and disrupt it before it happens. This is what ‘Data for change’ means! Without data this crime will remain invisible, and we would be investing in the dark. Data has the power to make this horrible crime against children visible and to guide us in designing safe digital futures for children and young people. 

Since 2017, Safe Online has invested over USD 76 million across 100 projects in 85 countries. Of this, over USD 20 million has been invested in evidence and data generation.

Images: © Safe Online/Photographer: Rafael Duarte

See more stories from our blog

End violence hosts its 10th global knowledge exchange webinar

On 17 June, End Violence held its 10th Global Knowledge Exchange Webinar, which gathered 117 individuals from partner and grantee organisations around the world. This webinar, the third event held in 2020, focused on integrated, child-centred frameworks for investigation, rehabilitation and recovery for survivors of online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Read More »

Learning, Networking And Visioning A Safe Digital Future:

On 30-31 May 2022, End Violence’s Safe Online initiative brought together over 40 grantees and partners from across the world alongside donors, and industry representatives from the Tech Coalition in a unique opportunity aligned around a common vision to end online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA).

Read More »
Stay in the loop.

Our purpose in detail

We are here to ensure every child and young person grows in to the digital world feeling safe, and is protected from harm.

We support, champion, and invest in innovative partners from the public, private, and third sectors working towards the same objective.

We believe in equipping guardians and young people with the skills to understand and see danger themselves once accessing digital experiences without supervision.

We'd love to have a chat

We're thrilled you're interested in donating to Safe Online - pop in the details below and we will get back to you to set up a discussion.