13 Jul
  • By Restoring Hope
  • Cause in

Preventing Violence – The Role of The Media

One of the biggest social issues currently facing Australia is that of violence against women and their children. What has formerly been kept private, behind closed doors and out of the news – save for a few sensationalised, shocking stories – is now receiving more media attention than ever before.

However, as awareness of this violence grows both in the public consciousness and in the media, we face a new set of challenges: to accurately, ethically and compassionately report on these crimes in a way that respects survivors’ stories and educates the broader community.

At the National Press Club in Canberra

On Wednesday June 3rd, 2015 at the National Press Club in Canberra, Our Watch hosted the launch of a new media award to recognise and encourage exemplary reporting to end violence against women. As Our Watch Ambassador and an inspiring speaker on family violence, Rosie Batty introduced the inaugural awards with an official address to the press club, televised live to the nation, on why prevention of violence against women is so important and how everyone can play their part – especially those working in the media.

Restoring Hope was fortunate to attend

One of our board members at Restoring Hope was fortunate enough to attend the launch and witness Rosie’s inspiring address first-hand, and was blown away by the courage and strength of such an amazing survivor. Since losing her son in a tragic, public assault by his father in February 2014, Rosie has been a tireless advocate for victims and survivors of family violence – in the 137 days since being awarded the Australian of The Year in January 2015, she has appeared publicly over 72 times. Rosie’s passion and determination when speaking out about family violence is clear, and her powerful speech directly addressed the media and called on journalists to educate themselves on the links between this violence and gender inequality in order to “join the dots,” and write informed, compassionate reports which connect individual incidents to a the broader culture of gender-based violence.

Rosie answers the difficult questions

Rosie also answered difficult questions on legal matters, public policy and the complexities of violence, expertly addressing the informed media and the general public at home in a way that was both professional and relatable. She managed to fit an astounding number of key messages into one speech about family violence and it’s surrounding culture – covering everything from the prevention education needed in schools and sporting clubs, to gender inequality in politics and the media, to tearing down the notion of victim-blaming and misinformed perceptions of violence.

Discussions to combat the ‘epidemic’

Rosie discussed the prevalence of violence against women and their children in Australia, the culture that gives rise to this violence, the contributing factors and the changes that need to be made in all areas in order to combat this “epidemic”. She used recent statistics to highlight just how much of a problem violence against women and children is in Australia, and reminded everyone in the room and across the nation how by working together, we really can make a difference and prevent this violence from happening in the first place.

Advocating for women across Australia

As a bereaved mother and a victim of family violence, there is an immediate authenticity and power in Rosie’s words. Her words were filled with emotion, advocating for the countless women across Australia who are currently victims of this horrendous violence, living in fear for their children and themselves. There is a fierce determination that drives her, which many have attributed (including Rosie herself) to not wanting Luke’s death to be in vain. Rosie’s strength, courage and bravery in the aftermath of such a tragedy are beyond admirable – she is a warrior and a well-deserved Australian of The Year.