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Safe Online invests $4 million to generate evidence on tackling online child sexual exploitation and abuse | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

Safe Online’s latest funding round is investing $4 million for generating crucial data and evidence to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA). This initial investment will be followed by an additional $1.5 million for evaluations of the projects in the next quarter. 

The Safe Online portfolio, which invests in cutting edge solutions and knowledge for online safety of children, has grown manifold over the last six years and has so far reached $76 million in investments focusing on 95 projects with impact in over 80 countries globally. The current targeted funding round builds on learnings generated during previous rounds and offers a unique opportunity to use results reported by grantees to understand the impact of programmes and tools we are funding, as well as identify lessons from the ground on how the change happens. 

From solutions for the tech industry and policies for governments to strengthen online safety to resources and digital platforms that help children stay safe online, this funding round covers a range of diverse and critical projects.  

It will enhance the knowledge and evidence base to support scale-up of tested approaches and solutions and also provide crucial insights to stakeholders in the larger online CSEA ecosystem.

Grantee Projects have been selected from existing and previously funded Safe Online projects based on their potential for impact and scale. The additional $1.5M in the next quarter will be invested to evaluate these project interventions with a focus on relevance, effectiveness, scalability and sustainability.  Safe Online was supported by the Evaluation Advisory Group in the robust selection process of the projects, who will also be guiding the evaluation design process and reviewing the deliverables throughout the life cycle of the projects. 

As the only global fund dedicated to tackling online CSEA, Safe Online is a leading contributor of evidence on what works and what doesn’t to address digital harms to children. Our selected cohort of grantees and interventions will help us go one step further in that regard and demonstrate what sustainable, scalable and impactful solutions look like in this field.

Marija Manojlovic, Director, Safe Online Initiative at the End Violence Partnership

Meet the Grantees: 

5Rights Foundation: 
5Right Foundation’s Child Online Safety Toolkit project aims to create a safer digital environment for children. By providing resources and training based on the toolkit, it seeks to empower countries and organisations to better protect young internet users. It intends to establish an internationally recognised framework for child online safety, fostering a unified and effective approach across different countries and jurisdictions. The toolkit serves as a resource for both civil societies and regulatory bodies worldwide, contributing to policy development, implementation, and regulation of online child safety. 

Council of Europe:
EndOCSEA@Europe Plus will build on the results of the previous project phase to strengthen actions to prevent and combat Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OCSEA) across the Council of Europe member states with particular focus on the following countries: Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro. 

DeafKidz International: 
DeafKidz Defenders is an interactive digital platform designed to educate deaf children on how to stay safe online. This project will empower deaf children in Pakistan, South Africa and Zambia, and increase teachers’ and parents’ knowledge of safeguarding to better protect deaf children from abuse.

UNICEF EAPRO’s project focuses on continuing momentum for work by being done by UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office in ASEAN for child online protection. It supports activities like tech industry working groups and a regional forum which will be held in Bangkok in November 2023 to support collaborative efforts that make children’s digital lives safer. Other activities include disseminating and applying detailed technical guidance for legislative reform and support to survivors of online child abuse.

UNICEF Ghana: 
UNICEF Ghana will implement the new project “Protecting children from online sexual exploitation in Ghana: Scale-up of interventions with the biggest potential for impact and evidence generation”. At least 10,000 children are expected to benefit from individual case management, national multi-sectoral and private sector engagement will be enhanced and capacity of law enforcement, judiciary and prosecutors for effective investigations and successful prosecution of online CSEA will be provided. The project aims to scale interventions and generate evidence on the implementation of the Cyber Security Act and the National Child Online Protection Framework, criminal justice and victim support and empowerment, in collaboration with the Cyber Security Authority, the Ghana Police Service, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and other partners. 

UNICEF Jordan: 
This programme supports UNICEF’s work with the Government of Jordan to prevent and respond to online child sexual exploitation and abuse. This includes programmes and policies that strengthen the capacity of the national protection system and raise awareness on keeping children safe online.

Tech Matters: 
Aselo is live in ten countries and one of the primary goals of Aselo is to increase the capacity of child helplines to meet the needs of much greater numbers of children and young people. The existing technology supported by the Safe Online initiative at End Violence Partnership helps to identify repeat callers and texters in most communication channels, so that helpline counsellors can review past contact (and case) records. The new funding will enable Tech Matters to make a minimum set of enhancements to Aselo to significantly expand the capabilities of the helplines to address the issue of repeat callers and allow the helplines to handle a greater volume of actionable calls/texts, maximising their impact and support for those in need.

Support from the Safe Online initiative at  End Violence Partnership has enabled Thorn to accelerate the development of our ‘classifiers’ that use the latest artificial intelligence to identify child sexual abuse material (CSAM) at scale, helping to identify victims faster and stop the viral spread of CSAM. This new funding aims to enhance and scale the CSAM Classifier by: 1) Deploying the existing CSAM Classifier to leading forensic and victim identification technology platforms that will enable adoption by law enforcement and hotline analysts and, 2) Identifying a scalable, consistent feedback mechanism for the CSAM Classifier.


Learn more about Safe Online and its investments. 


Image: © UNICEF/UN0747881/Rutherford


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