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New resource supports responsible media reporting on sexual harassment

November 30, 2022 / Our Watch media team

A new resource guiding media reporting on sexual harassment has been developed, recognising the important role the media can have in changing the attitudes and behaviours that drive violence against women.

The resource provides 12 tips for informed reporting – from identifying common behaviours and causes of sexual harassment, to highlighting legal considerations, and supporting the safety of survivors.

Although relevant to any setting, the resource includes tips for recognising and reporting on sexual harassment in the workplace, with the Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report revealing that workplace sexual harassment in Australia is prevalent and pervasive, occurring in every industry, in every location and at every level.

Marking an Australian-first, the resource was developed by Our Watch – Australia’s national leader in preventing violence against women – with support from the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the resource was important to ensure media are playing their role in helping to shift the perceptions around violence and harassment and ultimately work towards stamping it out.

“With almost two in five women, and a quarter of all men having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the past five years, it’s critical that the public understands what sexual harassment is, how to spot it and how to stop it. The media plays a key role here,” Minister Rishworth said.

“As a key vehicle for reaching the public, the media play an important role in this education. We are therefore pleased to share 12 tips which will not only guide the media to report on sexual harassment, but will also ensure this reporting is done in a safe, responsible and accurate way.”

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said the evidence shows that violence against women, including workplace sexual harassment, is gendered.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is about power, control and exclusion. But most importantly, it’s preventable, and our research shows that good media reporting is part of the solution.

“Evidence-based media reporting on sexual harassment can change the attitudes and behaviours that drive violence against women.

“Responsible, informed reporting sets a tone that women should be safe, equal and respected at work. Preventing violence against women is everyone’s responsibility and the media has a critical role to play in driving change,” Ms Kinnersly said.

Read the 12 tips for media reporting on sexual harassment.

This new resource adds to Our Watch’s existing suite of resources developed under its Media Making Change program. These include the media tip sheet, which provides an overview of the national guidelines for reporting on violence against women, and a tip sheet for sports journalists to report on violence against women in a sports context.

Media contact

Please contact Minister Rishworth’s Press Secretary Lanai Scarr on 0499 530 673 or Our Watch at media@ourwatch.org.au or 0423 444 907.

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.”

To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit Media Making Change.

About Our Watch

Our Watch is a national leader in Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the practices, norms, and structures that lead to violence against women and children.