Police and community members are important sources, but they are not the only sources.
Half the sources used in reporting about violence against women are from the police or criminal justice system1. Only around 10 per cent of sources are violence against women specialists and only around nine per cent are survivors of violence2.
Violence against women specialists and survivors can add an important dimension to your reporting on this issue.
Specialist sources include domestic, family and sexual violence organisations, services and academics. Violence against women specialists can talk about the nature of violence, why it happens, power and control, impacts on victims, accountability for perpetrators and systemic issues.
Community sector services have relatively few resources and may be unable to provide comment at short notice. Building relationships with these services may help to facilitate more urgent requests for comment.
Find a list of national domestic, family and sexual violence peak bodies and other key organisations below.
Visit the 1800RESPECT service directory for more specialist organisations and services, throughout Australia.
Survivors have always played a critical role in the change we need to see to end violence against women and their children.
Some survivors, their family and friends, want to share their stories in the media so their lived experience and expertise can contribute to the public debate. Others do not.
When reporting on violence, remember that the survivors have been through trauma. The way you treat them and share their story may impact on their healing. Not all those impacted by violence want to speak to the media, and safety is an issue.
A program called Voices for Change: A Media Advocacy Program for the Prevention of Violence Against Women was developed by Our Watch in partnership with Women’s Health East and VicHealth to ensure that women’s stories are shared in a safe, sensitive and responsible way.
Survivors receive media training as part of the Voices for Change program.
These organisations have trained survivor advocates:
If you’re a journalist looking for a survivor to provide comment on a story, you can contact the above organisations directly.
Police can describe ‘incidents’ of crime. While this can be useful, some problems with this include that:
Neighbours, friends, family and colleagues can tell you about their perceptions of the relationship, the perpetrator and the victim. This can be problematic because violence against women in the family context is often hidden – community members cannot know what happens ‘behind closed doors’.