Legal Constraints on the Reporting of Violence Against Women


Research shows that media reports of intimate partner homicides (IPHs) exclude information about the accused’s prior violence and the broader social context of violence against women (VAW). This is despite the reality that IPHs, more than any other crime, arise out of a history of prior violence and an environment where gender inequality is entrenched in social, cultural and organisational structures and practices (Our Watch, ANROWS, & VicHealth, 2015).

What has not been sufficiently recognised in these critiques however, is the impact of legal restrictions, which prohibit the publication of certain types of information, and the rules of evidence, which govern what raw material is available to a journalist.

The aim of this project is to provide empirical data showing how legal restrictions and the rules of evidence impact the media’s production of stories about IPH trials. This will go towards a better understanding of the processes that influence media coverage of IPHs, facilitating accurate, balanced and ethical journalism practice.