The media sensationalises reports of domestic violence against women, researchers claim.
Australian charity Our Watch and the country’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety have published a joint report. This claims that the media’s focus on the “most salacious aspects of violence against women” gives the public a “provocative but not representative” view of the issue.
Researchers included data collected from a number of peer-reviewed academic studies from around the world in their report. Some studies suggested that the media disproportionately covers instances of domestic violence against men. Instances where the perpetrator of violence is female made up “a high proportion of the total volume of media reports on violence, despite the rarity of these events”, the report read.
A focus on female perpetrators could be because the media prioritises “novelty”, the report suggested. It could also be because such incidents are “more deviant, more anxiety-provoking, more transgressive than men’s violence”.
Coverage of murder resulting from domestic violence was also examined. News stories about such incidents often gave the impression that it was “more important for readers to know how but not why men kill their partners”, one study found.
The report was published on White Ribbon Day – 25 November – to promote awareness of domestic violence and remember all the women killed by their partners.