INHOPE | A decade of dedication interview with Samantha Woolfe

A decade of dedication interview with Samantha Woolfe

Celebrating a decade of dedication to the INHOPE Network we interview our Network and Expansion lead Samantha Woolfe.

Why does INHOPE match you?

Since the start of my career, I’ve always been interested in working to protect children and vulnerable people. I wanted to do something meaningful. Throughout my life, my aim was to speak up for children and vulnerable people and give them a voice. I began this journey by fighting for equal access to education for the children of asylum seekers. This led to my next role exploring how young people could be better enabled to have their voices heard, which is when my career in the digital environment started. Before coming to INHOPE I advised UK telecommunications companies and the internet industry on practices and procedures to protect children online. At this time it was a relatively new concept and one of my first clients was the UK hotline, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

After my time working and supporting the IWF I knew that I wanted to focus on online child protection and in 2011 that dream became true.

So, to put it simply INHOPE shares my values. INHOPE is responsible to young people and children, and I feel that same responsibility as a member of society. And I am proud to be making an impact.

What gives you job satisfaction?

Knowing I’m making a difference in many lives and raising awareness of the issue and how to tackle it.

Proudest achievement?

Bringing together law enforcement, civil society, decision-makers and industry who are usually in competition, to establish country ownership of the issue; Changing mindsets so that people understand the problem, from the top down with high-level task forces to the bottom-up with grassroots awareness-raising. Bringing the right diverse players together to understand the need for a hotline or a reporting mechanism and how it can change a whole country's approach to fighting child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation.

What has been your biggest challenge?

The responsibility of the role, is to make sure that we work with the right organisation(s) in a priority country to take on this essential mission that will change lives.

How has the organisation changed during your tenure?

INHOPE is far more global than it was ten years ago and working in countries where nobody expected us to be able to.

Legislation in many countries has changed and there is much more awareness about the problem of CSAM. INHOPE analysts are more supported than they ever were. Terminology around online CSAM has changed and while media still has a long way to go, they are more careful when reporting stories today. Ten years ago trust and safety positions did not exist in the internet industry – we are seeing the whole landscape around this issue change with the internet industry taking better care of their own staff's wellbeing.

Unfortunately, what hasn’t changed and is more challenging than ever is the increasing number of images and videos being reported which shows us the problem is growing exponentially, and societal, teacher and parental awareness of what child sexual abuse looks like and how it happens, as well as the social and peer pressures children, face online/offline.

What words describe INHOPE?

Impact. Team. Collaboration. Opportunity (to make a change). Protecting the vulnerable, Speaking for the silenced. Safety.

Highlighting milestones of the people in your organisation is a small way to say thank you for all your dedication. Don't let great work go unnoticed!

A decade of dedication interview with Samantha Woolfe

What gives you job satisfaction? Knowing I’m making a difference in many lives and raising awareness of the issue and how to tackle it.