Reporting on child sexual abuse – guidance for media and victims and survivors
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We commissioned the University of Canberra News and Media Research Centre to develop evidence‑based media guides to encourage responsible reporting on child sexual abuse and support victims and survivors engaging with the media.
The key aim of these resources is to promote reporting that raises community awareness of child sexual abuse, reduces stigma, and empowers victims and survivors when they share their personal experiences with the media.
Guidance for media who are reporting on child sexual abuse
The guide encourages reporting that raises community awareness of child sexual abuse, reduces stigma, and empowers victims and survivors when they share their personal experiences with the media. It includes advice on how to develop and frame stories appropriately, language and terminology to use and avoid, and sensitivities to consider when engaging with victims and survivors.
Quick reference guides
A snapshot of the 5 key principles that media professionals need to be aware of when reporting on child sexual abuse.
A short guide to using appropriate language and terminology, including harmful and re‑traumatising language to avoid.
A short guide for editors and sub‑editors on how to support journalists who are reporting on child sexual abuse.
A short guide and key considerations for court reporters who are reporting on child sexual abuse.
Guidance for victims and survivors engaging with the media
This guide supports victims and survivors and their families to safely and effectively engage with media professionals. It provides advice on informed consent, understanding how the media works, setting boundaries, and ensuring safety and support networks are in place.
Quick reference guide
A snapshot of the 5 key principles to support victims and survivors and their families when engaging with media professionals.
Developing the guides
The University of Canberra undertook comprehensive research to inform the development of the guides, including a literature review and quantitative and qualitative analysis of media coverage on child sexual abuse over a two‑year period.
The guides have also been informed by robust consultation, involving face-to-face and online workshops, small group sessions and individual meetings with over 100 victims and survivors, advocates, journalists, editors, podcasters, academics, and policy and research staff.
Read the full research report and consultation summary on the University of Canberra website.