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Zero Tolerance launch ‘What journalists need to know about the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill’ with Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson

Venue: Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, 81 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AU
Date and time: Thursday 7th December, 1:30 – 3:00pm (Michael Matheson will be available for interviews at 2:30)

Zero Tolerance will launch a new briefing for journalists tomorrow which details how to report sensitively and accurately on the new Domestic Abuse Bill.

The launch will be a chance to hear about the bill from Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson, as well as to speak with key representatives from the women’s sector and ask questions, in advance of the bill going through parliament.

Many survivors of domestic abuse often do not recognise their experience in how domestic abuse is shown and described in the media. As the bill advances through parliament there will be many opportunities for covering the bill’s progress and contents, and then, if enacted, reporting on prosecutions.

Produced in consultation with Scottish Women’s Aid and ASSIST, this new briefing includes: a clear and comprehensive overview of the new bill, a background on coercive control and a set of manageable steps that writers can take to ensure their reporting is accurate and responsible. It also includes a list key of expert contacts for writers to make use of, as well as details of other helpful resources. The briefing is for any media journalist: local reporters, national press, bloggers, TV, radio, digital, editors, picture editors.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said of the briefing,
“The launch of this guidance is an important step in moving towards an informed understanding of domestic abuse and promotes a shared responsibility for reporting domestic abuse cases. As the Domestic Abuse Bill progresses through Parliament, we want to encourage responsible and safe reporting, and I’m confident this guidance will support journalists and editorial staff to adequately reflect on offences such as coercive control.

“Zero Tolerance has a strong track record in working with the media including the prestigious ‘Write to End Violence Awards’ which celebrates good reporting. This can play a vital role in increasing understanding of violence against women and challenging its place in our society. By respecting the integrity of a victim’s experience, journalists can encourage more people to come forward and seek justice, safe in the knowledge there will be no further repercussions for their privacy or that of their family.”

Rachel Adamson, Co-director of Zero Tolerance said, “This new legislation provides the chance to more fully capture and criminalise the true nature of domestic abuse to better reflect the lived experiences of those who have faced it. Our new guidance on the bill is a vital part of any journalist’s toolkit; we invite editors and writers to make full use of it to ensure that this ground breaking new bill is reported on with the care and accuracy it deserves.”

For more information about attending the launch, please contact Lydia House at lydia.house@zerotolerance.org.uk or on 0131 556 7365 or 0782 655 2090.


Notes for the editor

1. Zero Tolerance is a Scottish charity working to end men’s violence against women by promoting gender equality and by challenging attitudes which normalise violence and abuse. Find out more about Zero Tolerance on our website: http://www.zerotolerance.org.uk/
2. Contact Zero Tolerance on 0131 556 7365 or on press mobile 0782 655 2090
3. You can download the briefing, as well as other resources on media reporting of violence against women on Zero Tolerance’s website: http://www.zerotolerance.org.uk/what-we-do




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