Our Watch

Skip to content

Our Watch releases new guidelines for reporting on violence against women

March 21, 2019 / Our Watch media team

In this article

Our Watch has today released new guidelines to support Victorian journalists reporting on violence against women and their children.

The guidelines, titled How to report on violence against women and their children have been developed with funding from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. They provide practical tips for reporters, editors and news directors on how best to present information in stories where violence is gendered.

The guidelines 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 from other groups 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 living with a disability and women who identify as LGBTIQ+.

Our Watch Ambassador Tarang Chawla experienced the impact of harmful reporting when his sister, Nikita, was murdered, and subsequently during the trial of the man who murdered her.

He has since worked to raise awareness of the need for sensitive, evidence-based reporting.

Tarang explains: “When Niki was murdered, so much of the media reporting was about the colour of her skin, our cultural background, or in some way excusing the perpetrator’s responsibility for criminal action because of ‘culture’ or ‘honour killings’, when all it was was one man choosing to take the life of a woman.”

“When we read responsible media reporting, we understand the driving forces behind men’s violence against women and we understand the role everyone plays in tackling the sexist attitudes and damaging stereotypes that can lead to it.

“But when the media doesn’t do this, unfortunately our understanding in the community gets clouded and we try to look for other, less accurate, reasons and ways to make sense of these crimes,” Tarang adds.

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 older women, migrant and refugee women, women living with a disability and women who identify as LGBTIQ+.

The guidelines are intended for editors, producers, news directors, journalists, photographers, videographers and other professionals working across TV, radio, online and print media in Victoria, and are available in 15 languages.

For further information and to download the guidelines, click here.

Media contact

Laurelle Keough, Manager, Media and Communications: 0448 844 930 or media@ourwatch.org.au

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.

Find out more about our work to end violence against women in Australia.

The evidence
Woman holding baby.