Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Responsible Reporting of Sexual Assault Crimes

Reporting on sexual abuse has serious implications on the victim (survivor), the alleged perpetrator, the families of both and society as a whole.  It is therefore imperative that journalists observe certain codes of ethics when covering issues on sexual abuse.

Advocates can get to know local reporters and respond to coverage of sexual assaults by educating and advocating ethics in journalism.

Thanks to a grant from the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Journalism Center on Children and Families is producing new information to help.

The Journalism Center inspires and recognizes exemplary reporting on children and families.and offers training to help journalists practice responsible and informed reporting

From The Journalism Center's website:



Most stories about child sexual abuse are breaking news: A popular coach is accused of molesting an athlete. Police announce the arrest of a dozen people caught in an online child pornography investigation.

So how do you move beyond reporting the basic facts of one case and tell more illuminating stories? Where can you find context and new story lines that will help your audience understand the risks – and what can be done to protect children?

Thanks to a grant from the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Journalism Center is producing new information to help. Sections will include background on child sexual abuse and prevention (below); the characteristics and mental health treatment of people who offend; policy, law enforcement and prosecution; advice for reporting stories with care; and Q&As with leading experts. Each section will feature a topic overview, story ideas, sources and resources.

These backgrounders – covering the basics of child sexual abuse and prevention programs – are meant to help build your knowledge of child sexual abuse, which the American Medical Association has called a “silent epidemic.”

If you’d like to be alerted when new content is posted, e-mail us.             

Table of Contents

Child Sexual Abuse and Prevention
Statistics and Overview 
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: An Overview
Tips and Story Ideas
Additional Sources and Resources

Sexual Offenders Who Target Children

Behavior and Measuring Risk 
More Characteristics of Sexual Offenders: Pedophiles, Non-pedophiles, Juveniles
Tips and Story Ideas 
Additional Sources and Resources

FRED BERLIN, M.D., Ph.D., founder, National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma and Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic
WAYNE BOWERS, former sex offender and director, Sex Offenders Restored through Treatment (SORT)
LINDA JOHNSON, psychotherapist and executive director, Prevent Child Abuse –Vermont 
KRISTEN LOMBARDI, investigative reporter, Center for Public Integrity 
LARRY MAGID, co-director, ConnectSafely.org, and technology analyst,CBS News & CNET News

Other Sources:

 VAWnet Guide for Reporters

Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma

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