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Reporting on violence recognised, as nation reels from WA family massacre

September 13, 2018 / Our Watch media team

Journalists who have helped drive social change by reporting on violence against women and their children have today been recognised at the Our Watch Awards, as the nation reels from the murders of three young girls, their mother and their grandmother in Bedford, WA.

The massacre in the Perth suburb is the third such event this year, showing the critical need for ongoing work to change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to this kind of violence. 

“Our Watch understands that the media’s role in highlighting this violence and examining its causes is vital. We will continue to work closely with the media to highlight examples of excellent reporting,” said Our Watch chair, Natasha Stott Despoja AM.  

Speaking at the fourth annual Our Watch awards, Ms Stott Despoja said this year’s entries demonstrated integrity and an intelligent and compassionate understanding of the complex issue of violence against women and their children. 

There had been a marked improvement, with media increasingly examining the causes of this violence and avoiding language that blames victims or excuses perpetrators. 

Ms Stott Despoja also praised the exceptionally high standard of this year’s winners. She said the overall gold winner, ‘Religion and domestic violence investigation’ by Julia Baird, Rocco Fazzari, Hayley Gleeson, Debra Jopson and Sarah Malik shone a light on abuse that had for too long been hidden. 

“Survivors of violence against women must be heard. That’s what this reporting is doing, it is giving women a voice and holding to account powerful organisations that have hidden abuse and protected perpetrators.”  

The Awards are in their fourth year and are administered by the Walkley Foundation.  

2018 Our Watch awards winners

Best News Coverage

Jason Walls, NT News, ‘Women fleeing domestic violence forced to ride in paddy wagons’, ‘Domestic crisis: It’s time to stop this cycle of violence’,‘Survivors forced to relive the nightmare’ and‘Former NT cop assaulted his police officer wife’. 

Best Use of Social Media 

Jan Fran, The Feed, SBS VICELAND and The Feed’s Facebook page,  ‘The Frant’. 

Best Series or Special

Julia Baird, Hayley Gleeson, Debra Jopson, Sarah Malik and Rocco Fazzari, ABC News Online, ‘Religion and domestic violence investigation’. 

Best Local and Community Journalism

Nicole Ferrie, Emma D’Agostino and Natalie Croxon, The Bendigo Advertiser, ‘Together, we are an ocean’.

Best Journalism Campaign

Julia Baird, Hayley Gleeson, Debra Jopson, Sarah Malik and Amani Haydar, ABC News Online, ‘Religion and domestic violence investigation’.

Best Longform

Julia Baird and Hayley Gleeson and Rocco Fazzari, ABC News Online, ‘Clergy wives speak out about domestic violence’.  

Overall Gold Our Watch Award

Julia Baird, Hayley Gleeson, Debra Jopson, Sarah Malik and Rocco Fazzari, ABC News Online, ‘Religion and domestic violence investigation’.

Media contact

Saraya Musovic, Senior Media and Communications Advisor 
saraya.musovic@ourwatch.org.au or 0407 091 383

*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.  If you are worried about your behaviour, call Mensline on 1300 789 978 or visit mensline.org.au.” 

To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit Media Making Changemedia.ourwatch.org.au 

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. 

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

The evidence
Woman holding baby.