Media representations of violence against women and their children

Project Summary

The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 and academic literature identify the importance of engaging the media in efforts to prevent violence against women and their children. The media have a powerful role to play in helping to shape attitudes, perceptions and behaviours that enable, minimise or excuse violence against women and their children.

In collaboration with Our Watch, this project provides a robust analysis of the nature of violence against women representations which will be used as the basis of building industry engagement with the issue. An underpinning premise of this project is recognition that the onus for improved reporting of violence against women does not lie exclusively with the media industry. Responsibility also falls with violence-prevention agencies and those called on by the media to provide “expert” opinion to provide information and resources in a way that facilitates effective and quality reporting.

This project provides initial national baseline data on media representations of violence against women. It is intended to inform the development of strategies to effectively engage the media to report in a way that supports prevention efforts and does not cause further harm. It will inform and support work being done by a number of organisations across Australia to work with media to prevent and respond appropriately to violence against women. Key components include a “state of knowledge” (literature review) report on media representations of violence against women; content analysis of media representations of violence against women; and a discourse analysis of media representations of violence against women.

This project provides evidence to understand and improve how violence against women is reported in the media and how services can work more effectively with the media.

Researchers

Principal chief investigator:

Dr Georgina Sutherland, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne.

Chief investigators:

Professor Jane Pirkis, Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne.

Dr Kate Holland, Senior Research Fellow, News and Media Research Centre, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra.

Dr Cathy Vaughan, Lecturer, Gender and Women's Health Unit, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne.

Professor Patricia Easteal AM, Professor of Law, School of Law and Justice, Faculty of Business, Government and Law, University of Canberra.    

Publications

Media representations of violence against women and their children: State of knowledge paper

Media representations of violence against women and their children: Final report

Media representations of violence against women and their children: Key findings and future directions

​New research: Improvement needed in reporting on violence against women in Australia (Media release)

Estimated end date: 
This project was completed in June 2016.

Budget

$150,000 (in partnership with Our Watch)