Online child protection charities receive £2.2m in EU funding

The three charities involved in the UK Safer Internet Centre partnership welcome the funding but remain concerned about its long term future post-Brexit.

Joe Lepper | 24th Dec 18
Image shows a lock on a computer keyboard, representing a secure internet free from online child abuse.

Three UK charities are to receive £2.2m in European Union funding to help keep children and young people safe online.

The funding has been made through the EU Connecting Europe Facility Fund to the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC), a partnership of three charities dedicated to online child protection: Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) and Childnet.

The money will fund their work to keep children and young people safe online from January 2019 to December 2020.

Long term future still in doubt

While welcoming the award IWF Chief Executive and UKSIC Director Susie Hargreaves warns that there is no guarantee of future funding beyond 2020 due to Brexit.

“We’re delighted that our application has been successful. With Brexit on the horizon, funding was far from assured, and we thank the (European) Commission for helping the UK Safer Internet Centre continue its vital work of making the UK one of the safest places to be online.”

“However, it’s a reprieve not a guarantee. With no replacement funding so far offered by the UK government, we’re extremely concerned for the UKSIC when the grant comes to an end in 2020.

“Without this support many children and teenagers will be put at risk in a digital world which holds peril as well as opportunity.”

Child protection activity UKSIC will be involved in during 2019 includes UK Safer Internet Day on 5 February.

The UKSIC was appointed by the European Commission in 2011 to give advice to children, parents, carers and schools on internet safety. It runs a helpline and also a hotline for reporting child sexual abuse imagery and videos online.

The grant is broken down with £986,000 going to IWF; £694,000 going to SWGfL; and Childnet receiving £541,000.