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Being Sensitive instead of Sensationalist

When a child is the victim of a violent crime, it is paramount that the journalist weighs what information is necessary to inform the public and encourage community action. Remove details that will only serve to cause harm and detract from important information. Stating injuries and graphic details does not add to the story, all sexual abuse is violent.

  • Victim instead of Innocent Victim (all victims of crimes are innocent)
  • Sexual Abuse instead of Violent Assault (all sexual assaults are acts of violence whether the victim sustained other physical injuries or not.)

Do not sensationalize Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) as this distorts understanding of the broader issues, spreading fear without support or solution. Use language accurately and carefully: Be precise without being sensationalist. Do not use language that implies consent, and make the offender the subject of sentences and the survivor the object. Consider whether to describe the subject of the abuse as a victim or a survivor – this may differ from case to case so allow the individual to take the lead.

You can say a lot with a little! Do not sensentionalise individuals or organisations associated with Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation. Focus on the change required to make a difference.


Learn more about our CSAM Media guidelines for reporting on child sexual abuse.

Being Sensitive instead of Sensationalist
03.03.2022
Photo by INHOPE
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Use language accurately and carefully: Be precise without being sensationalist.

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