A media guide on how to report on sexual abuse involving minors.

posted on 21 July, 2023   (public)

Raising awareness, showing empathy and promoting collective responsibility: the role played by journalists when reporting on sexual violence against children.

As part of a project carried out by the World Vision Romania Foundation and the associations Vedem Just and Ecpat Norway*, a report providing guidelines to journalists on how to report on sexual abuse involving minors was published in June 2023.

Produced in partnership with the National Audiovisual Council of Romania and the Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences at the University of Bucharest, this guidance is the result of webinars dedicated to Romanian and Moldovan journalists conducted in March-April 2023 in collaboration with the above-named partners, and surveys launched by the World Vision Romania Foundation.

The "How Do We Report On Sexual Abuse Involving Children?" Guide, available in Romanian and English, first intends to help journalists better understand the reality of sexual violence with information and statistical data on sexual abuses involving children. 

It then provides information on the applicable legal framework - mostly in Romania - and highlights recommended practices and ethical aspects that journalists should take into account when reporting on such stories. 

The guide highlights for instance the importance of:

- avoiding sensationalism and personal opinions/judgements
- questioning and promoting the collective responsibility
- providing information on prevention and intervention
- showing empathy to victims and protecting the presumption of innocence 
- protecting the victim's identity
- checking the accuracy of the facts reported

In addition, the report provides recommendations on how to conduct interviews with the victims, the language to use when covering the story and the judicial trial and the questions that journalists should ask themselves before publishing. 

Finally, a list of national and international resources for journalists is provided. 

*The main goal of the project is to “combat child sexual abuse by increasing public awareness of children's rights and the ability of key segments (teachers and parents) to identify different forms of child abuse”. The project benefits from the financial support of Active Citizens Fund Romania, a program financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014-2021.

  • The report "How do we report on sexual abuse involving children?" (EN - RO)
  • The press release on the World Vision Romania Foundation's website (RO)

Source: the NAC (RO) and the World Vision Romania Foundation