Australia’s media sector has reaffirmed its commitment to the responsible reporting of domestic violence in a round table co-chaired by the Minister for Communications and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women.
The roundtable included Australian of the Year, Ms Rosie Batty, and Chair of the Council of Australian Governments Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children, Mr Ken Lay APM, along with leading representatives and practitioners from Australia’s television, radio, print and online media sectors.
One in six women has experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner. Of women who have experienced violence from a current partner, 39 per cent have never sought advice or support and 80 per cent have never contacted police.
The Federal Government recognises that the Australian media plays an important role in ensuring that incidents of domestic violence are reported responsibly and that potential and actual victims of domestic violence know where to get help and support.
Through ‘Our Watch’ the Government has funded the development of guidelines to assist the media to report domestic violence issues to the community.
Responsible reporting on domestic violence issues means that the media plays an active role by avoiding victim blaming, protecting the safety of domestic violence survivors and avoiding trivialising or sensationalising incidents of violence.
Importantly, industry representatives have agreed to encourage their members to incorporate the 1800 RESPECT helpline when reporting on dommestic violence issues so that people at risk know where they can seek help.
The industry representatives have described to both Ministers how they will apply guidelines within their own membership.
Reducing and ultimately ending domestic violence will require a whole of community response and responsible media reporting will play an integral role in driving the cultural change that is required.
The Reporting on Domestic Violence guidelines are available at: www.ourwatch.org.au/News-media/Reporting-Guidelines