Domestic violence and violence against women is Australia’s biggest crime story, biggest human rights story, and one of our biggest health and economic stories.
The media plays a key role in forming community attitudes, and the international research tells us that these attitudes are a key factor in primary prevention.
Uncovered is a resource developed by journalists, for journalists, to improve their understanding of the complexities of violence against women and their role in changing attitudes around the issue.
The website will constructively critique mainstream media reporting on violence against women – giving journalists a better understanding of what’s right, what’s wrong and what’s missing in coverage.
Uncovered will provide resources, guidelines and contacts for journalists and conduct its own investigative journalism on violence against women.
Uncovered will also have a strong social media presence to engage directly with journalists and facilitate relationships between the media and sector workers.
The website forms part of a larger project, ‘Violence Against Women: A Media Intervention’, funded by the Australian Research Council. This project is being led by the Centre for Advancing Journalism at University of Melbourne together with a cross disciplinary team of researchers, in partnership with Domestic Violence Victoria, VicHealth and the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.
This project investigates how violence against women became news and the limitations of this change in three stages:
- An analysis of violence against women news reports from the Herald Sun, The Age, Channel Nine, Mamamia and The Project (Channel 10) over three two-month periods spanning from 2014 to 2017
- Interviews with senior journalists and editorial executives as well as more junior crime and court reporting staff from the above organisations, looking into how gender inequality in the newsroom impacts on news agendas; and
- A focus group based investigation of how media content impacts community attitudes on violence against women.
Through this project, and with the help of Uncovered, we hope to shed light on the combination of forces, conversations, considerations and internal politics behind a change in newsroom agendas and news judgements.
Loni Cooper is the editor of Uncovered and a journalist with more than ten years' experience in radio and television. She has spent the past three years working as a researcher on ABCTV's Media Watch and is currently a freelance producer and presenter with ABC NewsRadio. Her work has been published in the Sydney Morning Herald, New Matilda and the Prague Post.
Dr Margaret Simons is Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism (CAJ) and the coordinator of the Master of Journalism at The University of Melbourne. In 2015, she won the Walkley Award for Social Equity Journalism. Her recent books include Six Square Metres (Scribe), Self-Made Man: The Kerry Stokes Story (Penguin), What's Next in Journalism?, Journalism at the Crossroads (both Scribe) and the book Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs co-written with former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Fraser (The Miegunyah Press). The latter won both the Book of the Year and the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2011. In addition to her academic work, Margaret regularly writes forThe Saturday Paper, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Griffith Review, The Monthly and other publications.
Jane Gilmore is a reporter for Uncovered. She has been writing about men’s violence against women for nearly ten years and has been published by The Guardian, the ABC, SBS, The Age, The Daily Telegraph, Meanjin, Junkee, The Saturday Paper, Hoopla and the Victorian Women’s Centre, among others.
Dr Denis Muller is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Advancing Journalism and is a leading expert on media ethics. Dr Muller worked as a journalist for 27 years and was Assistant Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald and Associate Editor at The Age. Since 1995 he has conducted independent social and policy research across education, health, environment and media fields. Dr Muller teaches media ethics and is the author of Media Ethics and Disasters. His most recent publication is Journalism Ethics for the Digital Age. Together with Michael Gawenda, Dr Muller conducted the Centre's research into how the media covered the Black Saturday Bushfires and consulted with bushfire-affected communities about their experiences with the media.
Professor Jenny Morgan is a leading Australian legal scholar on criminal law and feminist legal theory. Her research in the field of gender and the law has made a ground-breaking and substantial contribution to feminist legal theory. Between 2002 and 2005 Professor Morgan was a member of the Victorian Law Reform Commission's Advisory Committee on the Homicide Reference, and a Consultant to the Commission, where she had substantial input into the policy considerations of the Commission. Professor Morgan also served as a Commissioner on the ALRC's reference on Equality and from 1994 to 2013 was a board member of the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council.
Dr Kristin Diemer is a sociologist with specialist interest in family violence and sexual assault. Researching both large and small datasets using mixed-method approaches, she works with local initiatives as well as state and national partnerships. She has authored three editions of the Victorian Family Violence database, worked on two Victorian Law Reform Commissions and two waves of the National Community Attitudes Survey on Violence against Women. She has also been part of the SAFER program of research into the Victorian government reform of the family violence system. Her current research is part of an ARC funded linkage grant across three states and inclusive of over 20 NGO partners to examine: Fathering, family violence and intervention challenges.
Dr Michael Flood is an internationally recognised researcher on men, masculinities, and violence prevention. He has made a significant contribution to scholarly and community understanding of men’s and boys’ involvements in preventing and reducing violence against women and building gender equality. He also is a trainer and community educator with a long involvement in pro-feminist advocacy and education. He has worked with sporting and military organizations, community services, and governments, participated in international expert meetings, and contributed to social change campaigns. Dr Flood’s academic publications are available here and further materials are available here.
Prof Kelsey Hegarty is an academic general practitioner who currently works as a Professor and leads an Abuse and Violence in primary care research program. Her current research includes the evidence base for interventions to prevent violence against women; educational and complex interventions around identification of domestic and family violence in primary care settings and responding to men, women and children exposed to abuse. Interventions are delivered through primary care and through the use of new technolgies. During the last decade Kelsey has contributed at both national and international levels to the intimate partner violence field. She has developed a program of research in family violence, which commenced with her thesis. For this, she developed a new measure of domestic violence the Composite Abuse Scale, which is the first validated multidimensional measure of partner abuse. It has been used extensively globally and is available in 10 languages. She has co-edited a book on “Intimate partner abuse for health professionals” and is on two Cochrane systematic reviews of screening and advocacy interventions for domestic violence. She played a significant role in the development of Royal Australian College of General Practice White Book on Abuse and Violence and a gplearning module. She has developed an innovative domestic violence curriculum for health practitioners and she regularly teaches domestic violence and mental health issues to undergraduates and postgraduate medical and nursing practitioners. She is currently chair of the governence group of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria. She is also Director of the Postgraduate Primary Care Nursing Course in the Department. She works in general practice 2 sessions per week.
Dr Laura Tarzia is a Research Fellow in the Department of General Practice. She is deputy lead of the Researching Abuse and Violence program and a member of the Melbourne research Alliance to End ViolencE against women and their children (MAEVe). Laura has a background in gender studies and sociology, with an emphasis on qualitative methodologies. Her work focuses on domestic and sexual violence against women, as well as the use of technology as a strategy for early intervention and response. Her current projects include: the development and evaluation of an online healthy relationship tool and safety decision aid for women experiencing domestic violence (I-DECIDE); an investigation into the prevalence and health effects of unwanted sexual contact in women attending Australian general practices (PROSPER); systems and organisational change models for the implementation of trauma-informed care that is sensitive to the needs of women experiencing both mental health issues and sexual violence (WITH); early intervention and response to men who use violence in relationships (PEARL); and the development of an online database of survivor stories from women experiencing domestic violence (Not The Only One).
Annie Blatchford is a research assistant for the Violence against women: a media intervention project and is working with OurWatch to develop teaching tools for responsible reporting on this issue. Both are projects of the Centre for Advancing Journalism. She is undertaking a PhD at the University of Melbourne, investigating the impact of legal restrictions on the media’s reporting of violence against women. She completed the Master of Journalism in 2015.
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