Online Splash Pages
A mechanism for warning people who are attempting to access child sexual abuse images which have been removed from the internet. The pages carry a message to call the Stop it Now! UK and Ireland Helpline.
Type of intervention
Target groups, level of prevention and subgroups
- Situations/Places | Internet/online | Online/app | Internet-specific interventions
Splash Pages target internet users who are viewing child pornography online.
There are a number of delivery organisations involved in the use of Splash Pages in the UK. The Internet Watch Foundation assesses online content as to whether it is illegal and deemed to be child pornography. If it is, UK internet service providers are informed and the pages are taken down. The internet service providers then deploy the Splash Pages when attempts are made to access the URL/web page. The Splash Pages carry a message warning of the consequences of viewing illegal material and details of the Stop it Now! Helpline, run by the child protection charity, The Lucy Faithfull Foundation.
Mode and context of delivery
Splash Pages appear when an Internet user attempts to access a url/web page that has been identified by the Internet Watch Foundation as containing child pornography.
Level/nature of staff expertise required
Once in operation, no staff are required to deliver the Splash Pages. Internet Service Providers must implement their use.
Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)
The Splash Page appears on the user’s computer and he or she can close the window when they choose. The Splash Page outlines the potential consequences of viewing illegal images and gives details of the Stop it Now! Helpline, by which means they can speak to someone in confidence about their illegal Internet behaviour; it is the viewer’s choice whether he or she does so. If they contact the helpline, they can talk through their situation and receive on-going support to begin to address it.
Description of intervention
The Internet Watch Foundation receives reports of suspected child pornography images online. An Internet Content Analyst makes an assessment of the image or video using UK law. The imagery must fall within their remit (of child pornography, criminally obscene adult content or non-photographic images of child pornography). For the latter two, it must also be hosted in the UK to be able to take any action.
For child pornography, an assessment is made in line with the UK Sentencing Council’s Guidelines (soon to adapt to three levels of images, rather than the current five).
The host location of the content is then traced. This is done to establish where in the world the imagery is hosted. The host country is then notified of the existence of the content. Where it is within the UK, a takedown notice is sent to the hosting provider so that they can remove the content. They typically react very quickly and remove the content within one to two hours.
If someone then tries to access the URL/web page that held the content, a Splash Page will appear. A Splash Page is an ‘error’ or ‘404’ page which returns to users with a statement that child sexual abuse is illegal. Splash Pages containing messages for users were more widely introduced in the UK from July 2013, when the government called for efforts to seek out, block and remove online child pornography images. The UK’s leading search engines agreed to introduce Splash Pages that warned users that the content they were seeking was illegal and that they should seek help from Stop it Now!
If the content is hosted outside the UK, the corresponding hotline in that country (where there is one) is notified. 95% of child sexual abuse imagery is hosted in a country with a hotline. That hotline will work with the correct company to then remove the imagery. Europe is the quickest to react to remove this content (typically 86% is removed within 10 days). In North America 68% is removed in 10 days and for the rest of the world (which represents just 4% of content) it’s 44%.
There is no evaluation data available.
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation
Telephone: +44 (0) 1372 847160
INFORMATION CORRECT AT JANUARY 2021