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How to report on violence against women and their children

“Media are uniquely placed to help stop violence before it starts.”
Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year 2015
 

Our Watch has developed Victorian media reporting guidelines that provide tips and information media can use to ensure their reporting is part of the solution to violence against women and their children.

The guidelines, titled How to report on violence against women and their children also aim to provide journalists with a deeper understanding of the complexities of violence perpetrated against women who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; and against women who experience more than one form of discrimination.

They include guidance on reporting on acts of violence against older women, migrant and refugee women, women who identify as LGBTIQ+, and those living with a disability. 

How to report on violence against women and their children was developed in close consultation with senior leaders in the Victorian media and from Aboriginal communities, as well as those representing elderly women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, lesbian and bisexual women and women living with a disability. 

Our Watch would like to sincerely thank the organisations and experts who provided invaluable consultation on these guidelines for their contribution.

Why these guidelines matter

Research tells us that the media is a powerful driver of social change and can positively influence the structures, norms and practices that underpin violence against women and their children. 
 
Responsible reporting on gendered violence can:
  • help readers, listeners and viewers understand how widespread it is, who is affected, what drives it, and how it can be prevented.
  • shape the way women and their children understand their own experiences of violence and influence decisions on whether to speak out, take action or seek support.
  • influence the way perpetrators understand their own choices to use violence and whether to seek support to change their behaviour.
  • influence public policy and legislation through its investigation of violence against women and their children (for example, the NSW Government referred the state's consent laws to the Law Reform Commission following a Four Corners investigation into a high profile rape trial).
  • help society reframe how violence is talked about – particularly violence experienced by women who face multiple forms of discrimination and oppression – and champion the belief that this violence is never acceptable or excusable.
 

More resources

Hear from Our Watch Ambassadors and survivor advocates on how the media reported on their experiences and the importance of reporting ethically and responsibly on violence against women. 



Click here for the audio description version of the video - Our Watch Ambassador Tarang Chawla discusses the impact of media reporting on violence against women



Click here for the audio description version of the video - Our Watch Ambassadors discuss the impact of media reporting on violence against women

You can find more detail on the specific programs through which Our Watch engages with journalists who report on violence against women and their children in our Media Resources section.
 
Understand the issue of violence against women with key statistics on our Facts and Figures page.
 
Find a list of Victorian organisations and experts and who are able to provide comment or further information regarding violence against women on our regularly updated Media Contacts page.