Media’s portrayal of violence against women under spotlight

A JOINTLY-funded study will examine how media report on violence against women and their children.

Our Watch and Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS) have both commissioned the study.

Our Watch Chair Natasha Stott Despoja said the media were a dominant force in shaping discourse on violence against women and their children.

"Primary prevention of violence against women and their children involves challenging the cultural and social norms that condone, tolerate or excuse violence against women," Ms Stott Despoja said.

"The media can play a crucial role in informing the community and addressing misconceptions and myths.

"The early stages of the research show that the media often mirror society's confusion and ambivalence about violence against women."

ANROWS CEO Heather Nancarrow said the study will highlight the nature and extent of reporting on violence against women and their children.

"This research will provide a robust analysis of the way this issue is represented," Ms Nancarrow said.

"The evidence produced from this project will inform both media organisations and violence-prevention agencies about the impact of their work on public perceptions of violence against women and their children."

The media representations study is being led by the University of Melbourne's Dr Georgina Sutherland and Professor Jane Pirkis, and the University of Canberra's Professor Patricia Easteal, with assistance from Angus McCormack and Dr Cathy Vaughan (University of Melbourne), and Dr Kate Holland (University of Canberra).

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency, call 000.