Mediated Representations of Violence against Women in the Mainstream News in Australia

Georgina Sutherland, Patricia Easteal, Cathy Vaughan and Kate Holland, (2019) Mediated Representations of Violence against Women in the Mainstream News in Australia. BMC Public Health 19502 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6793-2

8 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019

See all articles by Georgina Sutherland

Georgina Sutherland

University of Melbourne - School of Population Health

Patricia L. Easteal

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice

Kate Holland

University of Canberra - Faculty of Arts and Design

Cathy Vaughan

University of Melbourne - Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

Date Written: May 5, 2019

Abstract

Background: How the mainstream news media report violence against women is significant if levels of violence are to be reduced and ultimately eliminated. Media reporting is an important indicator through which to measure progress towards shifting social and cultural norms that reinforce or challenge the place of violence against women in our society. The current study, therefore, aimed to establish a baseline picture of the extent and nature of reporting of violence against women by the mainstream Australian news media.

Methods: Descriptive and content analysis of media reports on violence against women that were collected over four months in three states of Australia. Reports were from newspapers, broadcast (television and radio) and online news sites.

Results: Coverage of violence against women in the mainstream news media was extensive. Explicitly situating violent experiences for women within a broader social context was infrequent. Few news reports included information for women on where to seek help. Additionally, news reports rarely elevated the voices of survivors, advocates and other experts, with a disproportionate emphasis on law enforcement, political and criminal justice perspectives.

Conclusions: Despite readiness among journalists and readers to engage in news about violence against women, reporting that promotes public understanding of the issue is not always the norm.

Keywords: Violence against women, News, Media, Australia

JEL Classification: I18, K49

Suggested Citation

Sutherland, Georgina and Easteal, Patricia L. and Holland, Kate and Vaughan, Cathy, Mediated Representations of Violence against Women in the Mainstream News in Australia (May 5, 2019). Georgina Sutherland, Patricia Easteal, Cathy Vaughan and Kate Holland, (2019) Mediated Representations of Violence against Women in the Mainstream News in Australia. BMC Public Health 19502 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6793-2 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3382924

Georgina Sutherland

University of Melbourne - School of Population Health ( email )

4/207 Bouverie Street
Parkville, Victoria
Australia

Patricia L. Easteal (Contact Author)

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice ( email )

Australia

Kate Holland

University of Canberra - Faculty of Arts and Design ( email )

Australia

Cathy Vaughan

University of Melbourne - Melbourne School of Population and Global Health ( email )

4/207 Bouverie Street
Parkville, Victoria
Australia

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