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Quick Guide: Media Coverage of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) - Regional Bureau For Europe

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Gender-based violence is a manifestation of inherent imbalances in power and gender equality.

Human stories about gender-based violence can impact public opinion and policies in a powerful way. Media (including social media) reporting on sexual and other forms of gender- based violence (GBV) in emergency contexts can facilitate advocacy with decision makers and communities to ensure protection of those at risk. In the meantime, covering GBV stories is very sensitive. In many places, being identified as a GBV survivor – and, sometimes, as someone who is helping a survivor - can result in isolation, social stigmatization, re-traumatization, rejection from family and community, and, in some extreme cases, death.

Each survivor is unique, reacts differently to gender-based violence, and has different strengths, resources and coping mechanisms. Each survivor has the right to decide who should know their story and how will it be used.

This guide is intended to help the media professionals covering the content relating to gender-based violence, including the human stories, do this in line with the necessary ethical and safety principles.

Due to the potential threats to safety, security and psychological well-being, all media reporting needs to respect basic ethical and safety principles, in line with the DO NO HARM approach that means taking all measures necessary to avoid exposing people to further harm as a result of our actions, as well as, SURVIVOR CENTERED approach that entails creating a supportive environment for the survivor by respecting their rights, and treating them with respect and dignity. The safety, confidentiality, dignity and rights of survivors, their families and their communities is the priority. They have to be protected from further harm or retribution.