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History of INHOPE

Various national initiatives brought together the various stakeholders to consider how to prevent illegal activity and especially the abuse of children on the internet. In Germany a number of separate initiatives commenced that were first discussed at the time of high profile court cases and parliamentary debates in 1995/96. At the same time Childnet International was established as a non-profit organisation based in London UK with a mission to "promote children's interests in international communications".

In June 1996, the first internet hotline dealing with child sexual abuse material was established in the Netherlands with the support of the police by concerned individuals in the internet industry. This was quickly followed by initiatives in Norway, Belgium and the UK before the end of 1996.

Other countries began to take notice and plans for hotlines were being finalised in Austria, Ireland, Finland, Spain, and France. In 1997, Childnet International hosted a meeting of Hotline organisations from Europe and the United States, where it was agreed that hotlines should work more closely. The group then secured funding under the EC Daphne programme to establish a forum for Hotlines to meet and discuss common issues of concern. Following this the INHOPE Association created and was legally registered in the Netherlands on the 23rd November 1999 with an initial 8 European members quickly followed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States.

Today, there are INHOPE Hotlines across the globe and on all continents. Through regular meetings to share knowledge and establish best practices, INHOPE and its members are working, together with its industry and law enforcement partners, to tackle the global problem of illegal content online and especially Child Sexual Abuse Material.


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Formed in November of 1999 by 8 hotlines, the name INHOPE comes from International Hotline Operators of Europe. However, over time this has evolved beyond Europe into a global network. INHOPE now represents the cause and positivity of the name ‘in hope’ and the hotlines that create the hope for an internet free from CSAM.

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