INHOPE | Advocating for hotlines in the European Parliament
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Advocating for hotlines in the European Parliament

The advocacy for policies and legislation that supports the protection of young people online is essential to INHOPE and our vision of a digital world free of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Our efforts over the past year have been successful in many aspects. One notable result of last year's advocacy efforts is the stance taken by the European Parliament's Committees on the significance of hotlines, along with the final position of the European Parliament regarding the CSAM Regulation.

Four Parliamentary Committees were closely involved with the draft CSAM Regulation. They reviewed the proposal, met with relevant stakeholders and published their perspective with the suggested amendments to the draft Regulation. All four Parliamentary Committees involved stressed the importance of hotlines in their public opinions.

More specifically, the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) called on Electronic Service Providers (ESPs) to provide “tools in a prominent way on their platform that allow users to seek help from their local or national hotline”, and highlighted that the future EU Centre “shall” cooperate with hotlines.

Echoing this sentiment, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) encouraged Member States to boost the operational capabilities of hotlines and highlighted the importance of streamlining reporting efforts to avoid duplication, aligning with INHOPE's advocacy for efficiency and effectiveness in tackling this issue.

The Culture and Education Committee (CULT) called for a reinforcement of the role of hotlines and urged Member States to ensure the existence of at least one official hotline within their territory. Stressing the importance of anonymous public reporting, CULT advocated for the public's ability to report abuse material and exploitation activities anonymously, recognising this as a cornerstone in the fight against child sexual abuse.

Lastly, the leading Parliamentary Committee - the Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) adopted the final European Parliament position on the CSAM Regulation. LIBE acknowledged hotlines' pivotal role and proposed that the future EU Centre should develop strategies for raising public awareness about online child sexual abuse and fostering cooperation with civil society organisations and hotlines.

The European Parliament's position includes adding the following points to the draft CSAM Regulation: (1) the definition of hotlines, (2) the requirement of ESPs to initiate or adjust cooperation with hotlines, (3) the instruction for the EU Centre to cooperate with hotlines and to establish online platform including information about hotlines and helplines and (4) an encouragement for EU Member States to enhance the operational capacities of hotlines.

Advocating for hotlines in the European Parliament