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Our Watch releases new guidelines for reporting on violence against women

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

The guidelines, called ‘how to report on violence against women and their children’ provide practical tips for Victorian reporters, editors and news directors on how best to present information in stories where violence is gendered.

The guidelines also aim to provide specific support in situations where violence is perpetrated against women who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, older women, migrant and refugee women, women living with a disability and women who identify as LGBTIQ+.

The guidelines are designed to support Victorian reporters

Our Watch ambassador Tarang Chawla experienced the impact of harmful reporting when his sister, Nikita, was murdered.

“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,” Chawla said.

“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.”

The new guidelines were developed in close consultation with senior leaders in Victorian media circles and from Aboriginal communities, along with groups representing women facing more than one form of discrimination.

The guidelines are available in 15 languages and were developed with funding from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

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

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