Family violence reporting: supporting the vulnerable or re-enforcing their vulnerability?

 

Author(s)Thomas, Vicki Lee and Rosemary Green
Title Family violence reporting: supporting the vulnerable or re-enforcing their vulnerability?
Source Asia Pacific Media Educator, June 2008/July 2009, Issue No. 19, pp 55-70
Date 2009
Document type Journal article
Coverage Victoria, Australia
URL http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1300&context=apme
Summary An analysis of newspaper reporting of family violence over fifteen weeks in Victoria, Australia was undertaken as part of a larger ongoing project, 'Family Violence in the News'. The analysis considered the primary focus of the reports, the numbers of reports concerning child versus adult victims of family violence and other demographic characteristics. Reports collected included 126 general information reports, such as promotion of domestic violence events, and 211 reports concerning specific cases of family violence. It was found that some of the reports reinforced myths about family violence by suggesting that those who experienced the violence were somehow responsible for it. Another concern was the language used, such as using the term 'domestic dispute', implying equal power between the parties. Specific ethnic groups, such as Indigenous Australians and people of the Muslim faith received a disproportional amount of attention. A number of recommendations for future reporting of family violence are made, including the suggestion that contact details of support agencies are provided and the need to present family violence as a significant and serious community problem rather than a collection of isolated personal tragedies.    
Keywords Family violence; newspaper reporting; ethics; media
Topic Media