Lauren Novak and Sheradyn Holderhead from the Sunday Mail and The Advertiser have been named the winners of the 2016 Our Watch Gold Award for their campaign “Knowing what we’re up against”.
The project combined shoe-leather reporting, Freedom of Information requests and lobbying to reveal, for the first time, key government data on the extent of domestic violence in South Australia.
Our Watch judges said: “The ‘Knowing what we’re up against’ campaign demonstrated a clear objective — to know the extent of the issue of family violence so as to stop it.
“The work was incisive, insightful, challenged stereotypes, and forced real change by exposing systemic failures that endanger women and families at risk. A truly commendable effort.”
Tonight, winners across seven categories were announced.
More than 200 journalists, industry and media identities gathered at Sydney’s Doltone House, Hyde Park, for the gala event hosted by Julia Zemiro.
Our Watch Chair Natasha Stott Despoja said “The high quality of entries to the 2016 Our Watch Awards highlight growing interest in providing accurate and responsible reporting on violence against women. The media have great influence as well as responsibility when reporting on violence against women. Our Watch seeks to reward this when it is done well.
“This year’s Our Watch Awards entries recognise exemplary reporting. Since the inaugural Our Watch Awards last year, there have been more media reports about violence against women as well as more in-depth reporting.
“We have seen recognition of the disadvantages that exacerbate violence against women. This includes women with disabilities, Indigenous women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
“We have also seen an important focus on the perspectives of women who experience violence. This is reflected in powerful individual stories told in the stories we honour tonight.
“We have seen bystander action increase, including among the media. This includes exposing attitudes and behaviour that normalise and excuse this violence.
“I congratulate the finalists and winners. They deserve acknowledgment for their commitment to ending the scourge of violence against women and their children,” she said.
Our Watch developed a national media awards scheme to be administered by the Walkley Foundation to recognise and reward exemplary reporting to end violence against women, in particular reporting that highlights the causes of violence and what we as a society can do to stop it before it starts. The Our Watch Awards, now in their second year, is an initiative under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.