Hotline.ie figures show there has been a 'constant increase' in reports of material depicting boys over the past three years
70% of online child sexual abuse material depicted boys, according to a new report.
The Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI) Hotline.ie annual report, covering January to December 2015, was launched this morning.
Hotline.ie - which offers a way for web users to anonymously report suspected illegal content - dealt with the second largest number of reports received in a year (3,153) since its establishment in 1999.
70% of the content assessed as 'Child Sexual Abuse Material' (CSAM) depicted boys, and 94.5% of the boys depicted being sexually abused or raped were estimated to have been aged between four and 13.
The group says they have seen a 'constant increase' in material depicting boys over the past three years - jumping from the 44% reported in 2013.
Hotline.ie's figures are said to indicate a discrepancy compared to international figures, where the content depicting boys typically makes up around 15% of the reported material.
The group says: "At this stage, there is no explanation for this other than the sheer volume of a given genre of sites being constantly reported and captured statistically."
However, the report also shows that Ireland is 'virtually free' of CSAM, with only one report received last year.
Paul Durrant, Chief Executive of ISPAI and Hotline.ie Manager, said: “Let’s never forget that behind Child Sexual Abuse Imagery is a real child who has been sexually abused and exploited; whilst images of the abuse are in circulation on the Internet the abuse is perpetuated and the victim is re-victimised ad infinitum.
"That is why Hotline.ie and ISPAI Members advocate removal at source as the single most effective way of breaking the cycle," he added.