What is INHOPE and what is the procedure abroad?

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Civil Hotlines exist all over the world. You can find a full list of member hotlines of the INHOPE network, including Child Focus, on their website www.inhope.org. As a member of INHOPE, Child Focus aligns with the networks Code of Practice.


How does it work abroad?

Although the different hotlines work in different ways and with different resources, the basic procedure remains the same:




A hotline receives a report from a citizen via its civil hotline.


A trained hotline analyst looks at the report and decides whether the images in question should be classified as images of sexual abuse under national law. Some hotlines, such as the Internet Watch Foundation in the UK, have software that ensures that images that have previously been reported and classified as images of sexual abuse do not have to be re-examined, as an automatic notification is generated saying that the image is already known. The training of these analysts is partly provided by INHOPE, and constant refresher courses are also organised by INHOPE and other partners, so that hotline analysts are as well prepared and supported in their work as possible. It is also a requirement for membership of INHOPE that these analysts receive the necessary psychological support to carry out their often extremely difficult task without endangering their mental health. Here too, INHOPE offers training courses, best practices and other tools to help the hotline to provide this support. 




If the analyst classifies the reported image as an image of sexual abuse according to national law, he or she will check in which country the URL is hosted.



If the URL is not hosted in the hotline’s country, the analyst will forward the report via the INHOPE network, so that it reaches the hotline of the country where the URL is hosted. To this end, there is an INHOPE database on which all hotlines exchange ‘foreign’ URLs with each other on a daily basis. Once the analyst has entered the foreign URL of images classified as images of sexual abuse in the INHOPE database, the work of the analyst for that particular report ceases, and an analyst from the hotline of the country concerned takes over. This second analyst re-examines the report, and if the image is also classified as showing sexual abuse under the law of the country in question, the analyst initiates the so-called notice and takedown procedure in consultation with the police and judicial authorities in his/her country. Under this procedure, images of sexual abuse are usually taken offline within no more than 72 hours.




If the URL is hosted in the first hotline’s country, the hotline will enter into contact with both the police and the ISP concerned, with a view on fast removal of the images from the Internet, but without compromising the criminal investigation by the police and the judicial system. The collaboration with the police, the judiciary and the ISPs is organised differently in every country, but usually involves a collaboration agreement in which the different roles are clearly assigned and the procedure is discussed in detail.

© 2019 Child Focus | Houba - de Strooperlaan 292 | B-1020 Brussel | Tel : + 32/ (0)2 475 44 11 | childfocus.be | info@childfocus.be | Child Focus is a member of “Missing Children Europe” (MCE)