INHOPE | Meet the INHOPE Board, Heidi De Pauw
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Meet the INHOPE Board, Heidi De Pauw

Get to know the people behind INHOPE with our board member spotlight.

Heidi De Pauw

Board Member

Why do you think INHOPE is important?

An African proverb says: "When spiderwebs unite, they can tie up a lion." In the same sense, I believe that by focusing on our common goal and working together efficiently the INHOPE community can combat child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

INHOPE is a conveyor of ideas, people and technology. The community is diverse in its strengths, divergent in statute and force, but aligned in its goal. To rid the digital world of CSAM is, to say the least, a daunting task. Children, irrespective of their place, race, age, gender, and beliefs, must enjoy equal online protection from sexual abuse. A globally coordinated approach is key to the accomplishment of this fundamental right. INHOPE contributes to this effort in its own unique way by helping with the establishment of hotlines, building strategic partnerships and connecting and inspiring people.

What is the biggest challenge for INHOPE in the next 2 years?

Above all, there are the enormous challenges linked to rapid technological developments. These offer a lot of opportunities - in the fight against online child abuse - but they also pose risks to the integrity of children online. As a global network, we will have to maintain a strong course, despite the growing challenges. We need to make sure that hotlines are thoroughly embedded in the ecosystem and become sustainable regardless of political and legal insecurities. That is why we must continue to invest in our strategic alliances and not be absent from any major decision that can impact the network. In that sense, cooperation and trust are crucial without losing sight of why and for whom we make these efforts: children, the beating drum of our work, how can we better serve their interests?

Why did you decide to join the INHOPE board?

Child Focus was one of the first members of INHOPE and has witnessed first-hand the development and growth of the organisation into what it is today: a global network that aims to eliminate CSAM worldwide. INHOPE wants to make children more central to its strategic plan for the coming two years. Given current events, developments and challenges, we need a powerful and unified response now more than ever. I am, as CEO of Child Focus, delighted to contribute to the development of this response. Children have always been at the centre of my preoccupations. I want to build on the legacy of my predecessor, Þóra Jónsdóttir. Children's rights should be at the heart of every decision or policymaking.

If you could change one thing about the internet, what would it be?

Children should be able to have a carefree time on the Internet, it should be safe, instructive and fun for all children. That is why the industry should be held accountable and should take responsibility for making their platforms a safe child-friendly place. Now the internet is too often offender-friendly because of the laxity of the industry. Persons with bad intentions can too easily find their way to children and exploit their vulnerabilities. No child should be left behind.

Do you have a vision for the future? If so, what does it look like?

Recent events and developments have seriously challenged my positive view of the world. But fortunately, my optimistic self has regained the upper hand. Crises and problems also create opportunities and chances. We must seize them to make a better online environment for our children. My vision for the future is one where connecting with and caring for each other is central. Only in this way can we allow our children, in the offline and online worlds, to develop fully and safely.

Meet the INHOPE Board, Heidi De Pauw

INHOPE is a conveyor of ideas, people and technology. The community is diverse in its strengths, divergent in statute and force, but aligned in its goal.