Setup and run a national hotline

Setting up a national hotline creates an accountable party who can own the task of responding nationally to child sexual abuse and exploitation. They can diagnose the missing links in the ideal ecosystem and determine the actions needed to crack down on child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and prevent revictimisation of children.

The spread of CSAM is drastically increasing every year and it is essential to take serious action now. Setting up a hotline can be overwhelming, which is why we encourage you to get the discussion started with key stakeholders and understand the basics.

What is a hotline?

Hotlines provide the public with a way to anonymously report illegal content online with a focus on CSAM. Reports are reviewed by content analysts who classify the illegality of the material. If classified as illegal, the URL containing CSAM is shared with the national Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) for victim identification purpose. Simultaneously, the hotline analyst issues a Notice and Takedown order (NTD) to the relevant Hosting Provider (HP) so that the material is removed from the internet.

What does a hotline do?

Hotlines are often part of a larger organisation that undertakes other work related to protecting children online in some way, whether that be a helpline, child advocacy institution, industry association, regulatory authority, or other type of organisation. The hotline operates all aspects of running the hotline itself, taking ownership of removing online CSAM, employing its own analysts who are trained by INHOPE and INTERPOL, and establishing collaboration with national hosting providers and law enforcement agency.

The specific functions of a hotline vary from country to country. However fundamentally, the objective of a hotline is to get the reported illegal content taken down from the internet as rapidly as possible. 84% of content globally was removed within 3 days in 2021 compared to 74% in 2020.

What organisation can become hotlines?

Regardless of the positive intentions, an organisation cannot simply receive reports of online CSAM from the public and start processing them. National law enforcement needs to know that a hotline does not do the job of the police, rather it collaborates with the police to save them time. This is highly sensitive material and precautions must be taken to:

  1. To ensure that the analysts responsible are trained properly
  2. To ensure safeguards and protections are in place so that content is not shared further
  3. To avoid misuse of the content
  4. To ensure that analysts received appropriate mental well-being and resilience support.

Find out here if your organisation can become a hotline.

What is the process to creating a hotline?

A hotline can be established in an NGO, a Regulatory Authority or other government department, your national ISP Association, or a trade body. The first step in establishing a hotline starts with a conversation with our network expansion lead. We take it one step at a time in order to ensure that things are done correctly. Read the hotline creation timeline here and contact our Network Expansion team.

Setup and run a national hotline

Setting up a hotline can be overwhelming, which is why we encourage you to get the discussion started with key stakeholders and understand the basics.