Downplaying men’s use of family violence won’t end it

Family violence experts are calling on the media to report on incidents responsibly.

Perth Now recently published an article which downplayed a man’s choice to use violence against his ex-partner. The article relied on his family to attempt to explain his actions, ignoring other relevant information such as his pattern of behaviour toward his ex-partner, and what measures she may have taken to protect herself.

While it is important to wait for the inquest findings, No to Violence call on the media to report men’s use of violence responsibly.

Jacqui Watt, No to Violence CEO, states:

“With over 25 years of experience working with men who use family violence, we know that when men use violence against their families, it is never a random or isolated attack.

“Instead of relying on family members and neighbours as ‘witnesses’, journalists should be reaching out to family violence experts for comment.

“Journalists and editors need to be aware that a man’s mental health, life experiences and behaviour with other people should not detract from his choice to use violence against those who he claims to love.”

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly supports No to Violence’s call, saying the media plays a vital role in shaping the public conversation around violence against women, both in terms of raising awareness of the extent of the problem and in debunking some of the common myths and misconceptions.

Patty Kinnersly, Our Watch CEO, states:

“While most journalists want to report responsibly on violence against women, there were still many examples of reporting which made excuses for perpetrators or
blamed victims.

“There is a clear link between media reporting and community attitudes towards violence against women. Unfortunately, some reporting perpetuates attitudes and myths, such as victim blaming and minimising or trivialising violence.

“What’s sometimes missing in reporting is an understanding of the drivers of violence against women, and the actions that are needed to stop it before it starts.”

The media is a powerful source of information for women seeking to leave a violent relationship. But unfortunately, less than 5 per cent of news reports provide helpseeking information like 1800RESPECT or the Men’s Referral Service’s number.

Australian media outlets have a responsibility to bring us accurate news and facts.

As a community, if we want to end family violence, we expect media outlets to report accurately and ethically on what causes family violence.

Media enquiries:

No to Violence
Camille Gierck
0401 337 241 or camilleg@ntv.org.au
Further interview and photo opportunities also possible on request.

Our Watch
Lisa Zilberpriver
0448 844 930 or lisa.zilberpriver@ourwatch.org.au
Further interview and photo opportunities also possible on request.