December 8, 2022

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Online child sexual exploitation and abuse is a rapidly growing and increasingly complex form of violence against children. To do more about it, we need to know more about it. 

And the Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund is doing just this by investing in knowledge and research to end online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA).

Today, we are announcing the selection of 8 projects for award under the second round of funding that will undertake innovative, actionable research for tackling online child exploitation and abuse with a focus on applications for the tech industry.

A total of USD$1 million was invested in the second year of this collaboration to fund select projects that increase our understanding of and build solutions towards (1) Prevention and deterrence, (2) Detection and reporting, (3) Response and support relating to online CSEA. The projects cover various regions of the world - with the winning organisations based in and focusing on research in Nepal, the Philippines, Cambodia, Turkey, Albania, Finland, the UK, Germany, Spain, Colombia, South Africa, Kenya and Canada.

The Tech Coalition and End Violence joined hands in 2020 to collectively work to support knowledge and research towards ending online child sexual exploitation and abuse. We are thrilled that this innovative partnership is now officially entering its 3rd year.

The first round of grantees are making great progress and developing insights in their research addressing grooming, content moderation, and offender profiles. The 8 new projects will collectively lead to game-changing evidence, applications and learning, and build on five years of earlier investments by the Safe Online initiative in countries across the world. Novel applications to drive real impact for tech industry include a range of topics –youth perceptions and participation, deterring the offenders themselves, peer-to-peer abuse for user reporting, putting the voices of youth at the forefront of efficacy of interventions and victim support services.

"If industry is to increase its ability to better respond to online harms to children, services, products and policies need to be informed by user experiences, data and independent research. As our Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund enters its third year and we welcome 8 new grantees, we are ever more convinced of the value of investing in multidisciplinary research into some of the most complex issues surrounding digital platforms."

Marija Manojlovic, Safe Online Director, End Violence Partnership

"Research is the foundation of our work to combat child sexual abuse online. The actionable insights from our diverse, global research grantees provide the Tech Coalition and our industry members the critical information they need to better prevent, detect, and respond to the potential harms children encounter online," added Sean Litton, Executive Director, Tech Coalition.

Meet the new 2022 grantees and explore how their research will help drive collective action to make a real difference to children’s safety online.

ChildSafeNet - will look into enhancing parental roles in protecting children from online sexual exploitation and abuse.

"Every child has a right to be protected online, same as they have the right to be protected offline. As parents are near and dear to children, they can guide children to be safe online and protect them from sexual abuse and exploitation. All parents need to be aware of online safety."

President, ChildSafeNet – Anil Raghuvanshi

Federation of the Women Associations of Türkiye (TKDF) - is mapping Turkey's online CSEA response and support mechanisms

MSB Berlin Medical School’s - research project is RAPPID – a Risk Assessment for the Prevention & Promotion of Internet Deterrence, and will focus on the development of psychological profiles that lead to sexually harmful/problematic behaviours within online platforms 

Royal Roads University - is undertaking a cross-regional Study on youth’s Experience of Peer-to-Peer Sexual Violence Online, the Social norms that around it and youth-led recommendations for prevention and response.

"Our emerging digital lives have afforded us both amazing opportunities and unfettered risks requiring mitigation. As online sexual violence against children is a reality, we have so much to gain from working with young people to understand these risks and leverage their ideas to build real safety."

Vice President, Research and International, Royal Roads University - Pedro Marquez

Save the Children’s - research will focus on protecting children from online grooming, generating cross-cultural, qualitative and child-centred data to guide grooming prevention and response

Suojellaan Lapsia ry, (Protect Children) - will generate evidence on offender-focused  prevention of online sexual violence against children,  looking into who is perpetrating online CSEA, and who’s seeking help for it 

“If we want the tech industry to be able to prevent online sexual violence against children, we need to constantly provide them with new, evidence-based research. Knowledge and collaboration is the key to keeping children safe online. “

Suojellaan Lapsia ry - Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen

Swansea University - is building strengthened safeguards with its anti-grooming technology  DRAGONS+ – Developing Resistance Against Grooming Online

ZanaAfrica is focusing on understanding online sexual exploitation and abuse of children with intellectual disabilities in Kenya.

 While there are a myriad of positive benefits of technology for children with intellectual disabilities, there is need to prioritize their online safety in the face of quickly evolving digital technology. This exciting research will help tech firms enhance their online platforms. Safety by design is key to reducing online abuse of children and young persons with intellectual disability.

Alta Consult (Project partner) - Catherine Nderi