Thursday, 29 July 2010

Get domestic violence reported in the news

2010 has been a pretty horrifying year for domestic violence in the news. Arguably the biggest crime story this year involved the man hunt for a perpetrator of domestic violence, who has since been lionized by some and condemned by many. Yet little of the news coverage seemed to address the big elephant in the room of Raoul Moat’s history of domestic violence, whilst the polices’ initial lack of response to Susan Stobbart’s pleas for help and protection resulted in 1 murder, 2 more shootings and 1 suicide.

And the biggest sports story of the year has been the World Cup, a tournament during which rates of domestic violence shot up by 31%. On 27th June, when England was knocked out, the highest incidences of domestic violence in the year so far were recorded. Although news outlets did report this increase, it didn’t receive that much prominence. It seemed to me that rather than have half time beer ads, it would have been far more sensible and far more pertinent to have ads promoting an anti domestic violence message.

Anyway. All this has brought back into my mind a plan I conceived of a while back to get the mainstream media to dedicate one month to reporting domestic violence.

Once a week, for one month I would like to see the following report.

“This week it is estimated 2 women were murdered by their current or ex partners. It is believed that 1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes.”

The final week would finish with:
“Over 100 women this year will die as a result of domestic violence. Violence against women kills and injures more women aged 16-45 than cancer or road traffic accidents.”

More or less detail can be added as the news agency prefers. Perhaps the final week could even feature a special report!

This isn’t a big ask. Most news programmes have a ‘summary of the rest of today’s news’ where this can be slotted in. Most papers have a column with 4 or 5 news stories briefly reported. With news agencies reporting Penelope Cruz’s marriage and Lindasy Lohan’s arrest, there is surely space available to reiterate this devastating statistic. News agencies could give the story as much or as little prominence as they like. But for one month, news consumers would hear that women are dying as a result of domestic violence.

I wanted to set up a campaign like this because once on a news website’s comments, someone complained that ‘violence against women was in the news all the time’. If this was the case, then these 2 deaths a week would be reported without fail. Clearly, they are not.


I want to contact:
Channel 4 News
Woman’s Hour
BBC News
Sky News
Radio 1 Newsbeat
Sunday Times
The Sun
The Independent
The Telegraph
The Mirror
The Daily Mail

I think I have contact details for Woman’s Hour and I have a contact at the Guardian. Can anyone help me out with advice on how to contact the other news agencies? And is there anything you would like to see in this campaign that I’ve missed out?

I will also be contacting CAADA and WomensAid for advice and support. If you work for a women’s organisation please get in touch with me if you would like to endorse or sign up to this campaign.

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