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Violence against women is a prevalent and serious issue. Despite its prevalence, the issue is not well understood by the wider community. There are misconceptions about the causes of violence against women, the social dynamics that allow it to occur, and what we can do to prevent it.

The media plays a powerful and important role in improving community perceptions of the causes and consequences of this violence, as well as its prevention. Insightful and accurate reporting is essential to creating a community where violence against women does not occur.

Our Watch has developed a new national media awards scheme (part of a broader National Media Engagement Project funded by the Australian Government) to be administered by the Walkley Foundation. The awards will recognise and reward exemplary reporting on violence against women, in particular reporting that highlights the drivers of violence and what we as a society can do to ‘stop it before it starts’.


  • Newsworthiness
  • Research, writing and productions
  • Incisiveness
  • Impact and public benefit
  • Adherence to ethical standards
  • Originality, innovation and creative flair
  • Time constraints and resources available

Entries will also be assessed on their value to promote awareness of violence against women that demonstrates some of the following qualities:

Promote public awareness and understanding of violence against women and its prevention

  • Describe the effects of violence against women, including its effects on the community as a whole.
  • Draw on current research on violence against women.
  • Draw attention to the relationship between community attitudes, power inequalities and violence against women.
  • Explore key drivers of violence against women, such as the condoning of violence against women, men’s control of decision making and limits to women’s independence, stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity, disrespect towards women and male peer relations that emphasise aggression.
  • Reflect on the impact of unequal distribution of power and resources between men and women.
  • Promote gender equality and respectful relationships.
  • Challenge stereotypes about how men and women should behave, and supporting myths that place blame on the victim or find excuses for perpetrator behaviour.
  • Give voice to women who have experienced violence.
  • Encourage men to take responsibility for their use of violent or abusive behaviour and the prevention of violence against women.
  • Raise awareness of successes of community projects that seek to reduce violence against women.
  • Provide information about resources and services available to those who are affected by violence against women.
  • Provide information about how friends and family can support those affected by violence against women.

Promotes public awareness and understanding of the effects of violence against women on children.

Most violence against women is perpetrated by men known to the victim and it often occurs in the home. Children are therefore very likely to be exposed to violence against women, and can be directly harmed in instances where they try to intervene.

 It is crucial that reporting on the issue of violence against women highlights its effects on children and considers the subsequent impact on the wider community. Excellent reporting on this issue:

  • Challenges stereotypes about violence against women and the effects of this violence on children.
  • Draws attention to the relationship between violence against women and the effects on children.
  • Acknowledges the ways in which children are impacted by violence against women.
  • Acknowledges the ways in which children are used in acts of violence against women.

Contributes to public benefit such as influencing policy or legislative change.

Media hold an important responsibility in gathering and disseminating news. Their role in informing the public of prevalent issues such as violence against women encourages community awareness and interest in these issues. Community influence can play a significant role in improving policy and legislation. Accurate and diligent reporting makes an essential contribution to the preservation of community focussed legislature.

Shows courage, originality and creativity in reporting of violence against women.

Violence against women is described as one of the least visible but most common forms of violence. Improving community understanding of this issue is crucial to its prevention. It is therefore essential that violence against women and its prevention remains at the forefront of newsworthy reporting and public dialogue is encouraged to continue. Reporters show courage in creating engaging and insightful coverage that explores various aspects of this significant issue.

Demonstrates accurate and balanced presentation of events / issues.

Demonstrates quality of research / writing / reporting.

Demonstrates the use of appropriate language.

Suggestive and inflammatory language in reporting on violence against women can be counterproductive for developing the community’s understanding of the issue, its wider impacts and prevention. Great reporting uses language that indicates the significance of the issue without overemphasising dramatic or salacious details. It is ethical, respectful, thorough and aware of its power to influence.

Please note: judges will also take into consideration individual category descriptions and requirements. The judging panels are created to reflect the diversity of topic, medium and style being reviewed. 




  • For Our Watch media resources including reporting guidelines CLICK HERE
  • For information about the National Media Engagement Project CLICK HERE
  • For facts and figures including infographics about violence against women CLICK HERE