#HotlineoftheWeek | Interview with the Finnish Hotline (Save the Children Finland - Nettivihje)

September 22, 2016

INHOPE talks to Veera Uusoksa, Manager of the Children and Digital Media Unit of Save the Children Finland. 

We discuss the work of the Finnish hotline and why international cooperation, terminology, awareness-raising and reporting are so crucial in the fight against online child sexual abuse. 

Last week in Helsinki (15-16 September), you organised and hosted an important international conference on the fight against online child sexual abuse. Can you briefly present here the spirit of the conference, its Nordic focus and the main outcomes?

The Conference was part of Save the Children’s work on our breakthrough goal “violence against children is no longer tolerated”. It gathered specialists working against online child sexual abuse from different fields such as law enforcement, NGOs and the public sector. We managed to attract relevant people and we had excellent contributions from our speakers. I would say that the event was a success and there was a strong willingness to collaborate both internationally and nationally. There seems to be a common understanding that issues related to online child sexual abuse need to be raised on a very different level on our national agenda in Finland. There were some excellent conversations of joint Nordic advocacy work and the discussion will continue at the ECPAT Nordic Forum in Stockholm in November. Also we managed to achieve better vision and a roadmap in order to work with the industry due to active participation of our operators and ISP partners.


In terms of the outcomes, we did raise awareness and the work of Finnish Hotline Nettivihje became more familiar to other stakeholders.  The Conference gathered 150 participants from all around Europe and experts working in the field of child protection, criminology and prevention of sexual abuse gave inspiring presentations. I would say that it is quite an excellent outcome on its own.  


Pictured here: the Save the Children Finland team with the participants of the international conference in Helsinki

To ensure that all partners are speaking the same language, an international working group which includes INHOPE released in June Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse also known as the Luxembourg Guidelines. As the Finnish hotline, you have been campaigning for more accurate and respectful terminology. Can you tell us more about the current actions to achieve that objective? 

The Terminology Guidelines were one of the key topics in the conversation during the Conference. We are aspiring to gather an international network to work with this in cooperation. The Luxembourg Guidelines are an excellent basis in order to create discussion on a national level. It is clear that the process will not be an easy one and there is quite a lot of controversy and ideology linked to the terminology used. It is not going to be a simple translation process but rather a large joint collaboration with all national stakeholders. It is too early to say when and how we are going to achieve what we want in terms of the terminology but work has already started and especially the LEA in Finland is really active on this. Using common terminology is basis for quality data collection.  We need research based on quality data to show the extent of the problem we are facing.

In your awareness-raising work as the Finnish hotline, you have long been visible at events where you educate the public on the right to be free from exploitation and abuse and why reporting suspected child sexual abuse material matters. Can you share with us why you believe it is important?  

We strongly believe that a complex issue such a dissemination of CSAM and preventing online child sexual abuse requires a creative mindset and a wide perspective into awareness-raising as well. We are pioneers in trying new things, reaching wider audiences e.g. professionals working in other fields, sexual rights activists and networking with unconventional partners. Every year, we participate in the Finnish Sexhibition Fair, raising awareness in the area of keeping the adult pornography clean of CAM. We try to practice what we preach and really reach a wide audience and alliances to tackle the huge problem of sexual abuse.


Did You Know? 

A member of INHOPE, Nettivihje, as part of Save the Children Finland, has been in operation since 2002 and offers the public a way to report potential illegal online content, especially regarding Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). Reports can be made anonymously.

"Jokainen vihje on tärkeä", every report counts, says the Finnish version of the INHOPE  "Report it, don't ignore it" campaign. 

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