Protecting victims’ identities in press coverage of child victimization.
When the names of child victims and other identifying information appear in the media it can exacerbate trauma, complicate recovery, discourage future disclosures and inhibit cooperation with authorities for the children involved. In this study, we evaluated the amount of identifying information available in a systematic sample of 561 newspaper articles about non-fatal child victimizations published from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2004. Identifying information about the victim (e.g. name of the child's street, school or a family member's full name) was published in 51 percent of articles covering child victimizations. For cases of sexual assault, victim identifiers were most likely to be included when the alleged offender was related to the victim or was a high-profile community member. Based on these findings, we examine the arguments for and against more restrictive policies regarding identifying information, and suggest some guidelines that would provide additional protections for child victims.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Jones, L.M., Finkelhor, D., Beckwith, J. Protecting victims' identities in press coverage of child victimization. (2010) Journalism, 11 (3), pp. 347-367.
© The Author(s) 2010.