Types of Online Content That Should be Reported

The ISPAI Hotline.ie Service exists to combat illegal content on the Internet. All reports are assessed and where content is found to be illegal action is taken.

You may report content you suspect to be illegal encountered when using any of the following services:

Internet Services

If you are not sure if the material is illegal or not, report it to the Hotline.ie as our analysts will assess it. You don’t have to prove the legality of the content. Actually, Hotline.ie strongly discourages any person from actively searching for illegal material on the Internet as such activities might be illegal under Irish legislation.

NOTE: Hotline.ie can only act on spam email that contain or refer to online illegal content. In particular spam containing Online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) or which seem to be advertising CSAM. Hotline.ie does not deal with spam that does not contain or refer to illegal content. To complain about spam sent to your personal account or abuse of personal information, please contact the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

Types of Illegal Content

Internet Services


The main focus of Hotline.ie is content which may be illegal under the Irish Child Trafficking and Pornography Act (1998). Under this Act it is illegal for anyone to knowingly possess Child Pornography. It is also illegal to knowingly print, publish, import, export, manufacture or distribute Child Pornography. In this Act “child” means a person under the age of 17 years old.

Hotline.ie and its worldwide Internet Hotline counterparts refer to Child Pornography as Child Sexual Abuse Material, because it has been noticed over the years that many people find it difficult to grasp the meaning of Child Pornography. Furthermore, the term "Child Sexual Abuse Material" (CSAM) also reinforces that behind images and videos of Child Pornography there is sexual abuse of real child victims.


The term “grooming” is used to describe the process carried out by offenders befriending the child with a view to sexually abusing them. The perpetrator aims to create an environment which allows, justifies and neutralizes the abusive activities, and confuses the perception of normal and abnormal relationship between children and adults.

Grooming usually precedes Sexual Abuse whether it takes place online or offline. Summed-up stages of the grooming process: targeting the victim, gaining the victim's trust, filling a need, isolating the child, sexualizing the relationship and maintaining control.


is a type of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. The United Nations defines Child Sex Tourism as “tourism organized with the primary purpose of facilitating the effecting of a commercial-sexual relationship with a child.”


Child Trafficking for sexual purposes refers to the cross-border or internal, recruitment, transportation, harbouring, transfer or receipt of children for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act (1998), Sexual Exploitation of Children means:

“(a) inducing or coercing the child to engage in prostitution or the production of Child Pornography,
(b) using the child for prostitution or the production of Child Pornography,
(c) inducing or coercing the child to participate in any sexual activity which is an offence under any enactment, or
(d) the commission of any such offence against the child.”

Internet Services

NOTE: In these cases Hotline.ie refers to the Irish Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989. Under this Act it is an offence for a person to distribute, publish, behave, display written material, words, behaviour, visual images or sounds if they are threatening, abusive or insulting and are intended or are likely to stir up hatred.

Internet Services

NOTE: Hotline.ie only deals with those which purport to be Irish financial services or appear to have originated from Ireland or have Irish contact details.

The Hotline only deals with reports about content on the Internet. This service must not be used to report crime or suspected criminal activities taking place in the “real world”. Any such reports should be made directly to An Garda Síochána, either at your local Garda station or by using the free Garda Confidential telephone

1800 666 111

Reporting to the Hotline is not a substitute for notifying An Garda Síochána. Urgent situations where persons may be in immediate danger should always be reported to An Garda Síochána directly.

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