IWF launches a Wipe It Out campaign

Seventy-four per cent of UK companies would not report to the police an employee who downloaded indecent images of children, according to a survey by the Internet Watch Foundation.

Of those, 38 per cent would not even go as far as to discipline or dismiss the employee.

The IWF revealed the findings at the launch of its Wipe It Out campaign to stamp out the downloading and distribution of indecent pictures of children in the workplace. It said that 80 per cent of employers are not aware of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which came into force in May 2004, making it easier for companies to report child abuse images to the police.

The law protects IT department workers who need to copy and store indecent images as evidence of illegal activity by another employee.

Peter Robbins, CEO of the IWF said that organisations need to ensure that they know how to deal with any problem.

‘These results are shocking – the workplace is where a majority of people have access to the Internet,’ he said. ‘It is essential that employees that monitor companies’ networks are aware of what guidelines they should take if they come across a potentially illegal image. However, the research has confirmed our expectations that a majority of IT managers are in fact uninformed of the correct procedure to follow, rather than being unwilling to sit up and act. This is supported by the fact that 38 per cent of IT managers questioned wouldn’t do anything or wouldn’t know what do if they caught an employee downloading illegal images of children.’

He added that companies should have an Acceptable Internet Use Policy in line with current UK legislation that should be clearly explained to staff, including the consequences of transgression.

More information can be found at www.iwf.org.uk.

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