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In , Dr. According to Barbara Nelson 58 , this "caused a storm" in the medical and mass media, with the AMA contributing a press release entitled "Parental abuse looms in childhood deaths". At this stage child abuse was defined narrowly, and speedy legislative responses were therefore possible. Defining the problem narrowly to the "battered-child" "reduced conflict" and enhanced the "non-controversial nature of the issue" Nelson Nelson analysed media coverage of child abuse using the "issue-attention cycle" described by Anthony Downs Downs proposed that this cycle of interest in a problem "is rooted both in the nature of certain domestic problems and in the way major communications media interact with the public" Downs describes five stages of this cycle: a "pre-problem stage" where the social condition exists but has yet to come to full attention; a second stage of "alarmed discovery and euphoric enthusiasm"; a third stage where the price of solving the problem is seen as high and may involve some major re-structuring of society itself; a fourth stage where public interest slowly declines; and a final "post-problem" stage where there is "a twilight realm of lesser attention or spasmodic recurrences of interest" Downs 39— Downs does not define this cycle of interest solely in terms of media coverage and qualifies his formulation by arguing that not all social problems will go through this cycle.

Indeed, the media continue to "discover" child abuse. There is little sign of "compassion fatigue" or "media fatigue" Cohen Child abuse is still "in the news" Goddard a: 7. The first is increased media coverage of "specific types" of abuse Nelson gives examples such as child abuse in military families, an issue which has received little attention in Australia. Second, and conversely, child abuse became linked with broader issues such as violence in the family more generally.

Child abuse coverage has thus been enhanced both by "topic differentiation and issue aggregation", according to Nelson Continuing media attention is also fed by a third factor, the media monitoring of papers in professional journals. Nelson proposes that this "symbiotic relationship" between the mass media and professional outlets, while well established, has rarely been studied.

A fourth factor, the increased use of "soft news" or human interest stories about child abuse, in addition to the "hard news" or crime stories, has also led to sustained media interest in child abuse Nelson The growth in the number of articles on child abuse in professional journals which as Nelson notes, feed the broader media was also accompanied by a growth in the number of journals. These factors have allowed increased coverage of child abuse in professional journals without excluding other topics Nelson In recent years, there has also been a reverse cycle of interest in media coverage of the problems, with child welfare researchers, academics and practitioners examining media coverage.

The UK-based journal Child Abuse Review published a special issue devoted to media coverage of child abuse and neglect see, for example, Goddard b. In Australia, Children Australia has carried a number of articles on the subject see, for example, Goddard and Liddell Part of this Issues Paper is based upon the Project Axis work. The deaths of children already identified as abused by the child protection service and other health and welfare workers have become a major part of the media coverage of child abuse and neglect, in the UK and elsewhere.

According to Goddard and Tucci 3 : "The names of children, Maria Colwell, Darryn Clarke, Tyra Henry, Jasmine Beckford and others comprise a litany engraved on the minds of British social workers and familiar to many working in child protection. Without doubt, the most well-known of such cases in Australia concerns the death of Daniel Valerio.

A brief account of this influence follows. When the Liberal-National coalition was elected to government in Victoria in October , its stated policy was one of opposition to mandatory reporting. Six months later, in March , the Minister for Community Services announced the introduction of mandatory reporting. The volte-face was caused by the death of Daniel Valerio and, more specifically, the trial of Paul Aiton for his murder Goddard and Liddell Born in early , Daniel stayed with his mother Cheryl Butcher when his parents separated.

Early in , she formed a relationship with Paul Aiton and soon afterwards a number of people noticed bruising on Daniel. Reports were made to protective services in August Short-staffed, they did not respond but passed information on to the police. Inadequate communication, failures to follow procedures, and lost or confused messages exemplified responses.

The police removed the stick and arranged for a medical examination by the Police Surgeon. A few days later, in September , and after visits to a general practitioner on three occasions, Daniel was dead. A post-mortem examination revealed internal injuries akin to those found in road accident victims, more than bruises, and old fractures to both clavicles.

On 26 February , Aiton was sentenced to 22 years jail. Goddard and Liddell propose that the "backflip" on mandatory reporting took place because of a massive campaign by the Herald Sun. They suggest that the campaign was interesting for a number of reasons:.

It is common to criticise such media coverage. In their review of the media approaches to child abuse "scandals" in the UK, Franklin and Parton make a number of criticisms, suggesting that events tend to be sensationalised and trivialised, vital issues are misrepresented, and scapegoats are sought. The result has been described as "legislation by tabloid" Franklin and Lavery Goddard and Liddell state that, whatever the criticism of the Herald Sun campaign about Daniel Valerio, there was a great deal that was wrong with the way the police and child protection responded to Daniel Valerio, both at a systems and at an individual level.

Rather than concentrate exclusively on the real or imagined faults of the individuals involved. Armytage and Reeves argue strongly that accountability in child protection services will always be demanded, and public and implicitly media scrutiny is unavoidable. The alternative they suggest is even worse: a public that shows little or no concern for the child who has been abused or neglected.

Problems of high staff turnover, high vacancy rates, and large numbers of unallocated cases did not appear to be given a high priority in spite of representations to the responsible ministers and senior managers. Nevertheless, the tactics were apparently successful.

Child abuse and the media

Goddard suggests that the timing of these announcements, proclaiming large increases in resources and an inquiry, might be "entirely coincidental" Goddard and Carew Analysts have suggested that, of late, it has become harder to differentiate media campaigns aimed at changing policy and pure advertising Rickford As Ericson has suggested, many of the media analysts now appear to regard the media as a social problem.

This view seems to be shared by many health and welfare professionals working in child protection Goddard b. One of the reasons for this oft-expressed dissatisfaction has been the increasing focus on responses to child abuse rather than the abuse itself. The idea that investigative reporting is a "powerful catalyst for change" has become widely accepted, and the reforming role of investigative journalists has been dramatised in novels and films Protess et al.

A "folklore" has grown up around investigative journalism in democratic societies: "Vigilante journalists bring wrongdoing to public attention. An informed citizenry responds by demanding reforms from their elected representatives. Policy makers respond in turn by taking corrective action.

Investigating and reporting social issues has been described as "the most challenging, and perhaps the most important" role in journalism Griffin et al. A number of child abuse scandals and we do not use this word lightly have only seen the light of day because of the persistence of the media. The efforts of Alison Taylor in bringing the abuse of children in "care" in North Wales to public attention were supported by extensive explorations of the problems by the print media see also Goddard In recent years, journalists have published their accounts of investigations into problems in child welfare services.

Fairweather describes how the stories were initially dismissed as "gutter journalism" and "sensationalist" but the newspaper persisted for three years: "provoking 13 government-ordered inquiries. Fairweather and her colleague uncovered an "appalling regime of sexual abuse and management cover-ups", but do not claim all the credit: "I find it terrifying. Investigative journalists have made a major contribution to our understanding of the full extent of child abuse.

In a report spread over two pages for four consecutive days Davies, an acclaimed investigative journalist, exposed the seriousness and scale of the problem of child sexual abuse and the failings of those organisations with a responsibility to children. Davies made some valuable points in the opening piece of his investigation, in which he sought to establish the scale of the problem: "The sexual abuse of children is a special crime, not simply because of the damage it does to victims, not even because of the anger and fear it provokes in communities, but more particularly because it is so easy — easy to commit, easy to get away with" Davies a: 4.

Davies a: 5 suggests that the reason that it is easy to get away with is that: "Beyond the inherent difficulty of detecting and preventing this most secret crime, beyond the obstacle course of concealment erected by the collusion of clever paedophiles, the child victims of sexual abuse are betrayed by organisations who repeatedly prefer to avoid embarrassment by concealing awkward allegations and by a system of protection which simply does not work.

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The following day, Davies b exposed scandals in child protection in the United Kingdom and case histories of the whistleblowers who attempted to expose corruption in the services supposedly protecting children. On the third day of the series, Davies c turned his attention to the Anglican Church, which had repeatedly failed to deal with serious abuse by priests.


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In the final part of his investigations, Davies d exposed the haphazard nature of child protection and the grim catalogue of failures. Such detailed and exhaustive investigations are unfortunately rare. Nevertheless, they not only serve to provide detailed information about the extent and size of the problem. The final piece d was accompanied by an editorial calling on the government to set in place child protection strategies.

Such examples of educative and investigative journalism are rarely examined by those who undertake media analysis. As noted above, it is easy to be critical of media coverage of child abuse, even the in-depth reporting examined here. Many of the criticisms of media coverage of crime see, for example, Surette can be made about the media portrayal of child abuse; it is often stereotyped, superficial and sensational Wilczynski and Sinclair Wilczynski and Sinclair suggest, however, that even sensationalist coverage can have potentially beneficial effects, for example on public awareness.

The work of journalists like Davies and Fairweather also highlight the disturbing fact that too many children have had to rely on whistleblowers and journalists for protection from abuse. Series of articles such as those entitled "Broken Lives" by Julie-Anne Davies in The Age see, for example, Davies ; Goddard will continue to have a major impact on policy and public perception. Understanding the issues and problems associated with media coverage of child abuse will become more important.

Media representations are the primary source of information on social problems for many people Hutson and Liddiard Maley 37 noted that: "In social and cultural matters, the various media provide the main platforms of debate, and their choices of subjects, participants and opinions shape the agenda and much of its content.

Similarly, Giordano and Stan 29 , writing about the outcomes of a seminar, "Focus on Children: The Beat of the Future", held at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in the United States, note the "mere coverage of issues affecting children places journalists in the role of advocate". Accepting the position that "the issues of childhood and child abuse are closely linked" Corby 6 , it therefore follows that to be effective in contributing to the prevention of child abuse and neglect, the media must not merely focus on the issue of child abuse, but must also draw attention to the perceptions and the status of children and young people in society.

Evidence of the potential for journalists to be advocates for children is demonstrated in some of the newspaper articles cited in this paper. Indeed, Levy has argued that: "strengths, vulnerabilities, habits, and even flaws of the media can be brought to bear on the story of child maltreatment. Unfortunately, attitudes towards children, as portrayed in the print media, are clearly ambivalent.

They found that children are stereotyped and that childhood is portrayed neither realistically nor appropriately: "the media. In some articles children appear to be coveted, but the emphasis appears to be on their physical cuteness, novelty appeal, or sensational arrival into an adultcentric world. A major component of any successful child abuse prevention strategy would therefore be to develop initiatives that redress such views Tomison The UK National Commission of Inquiry into the Prevention of Child Abuse 77 recommended that the media "take a more balanced and sympathetic view of children".

In line with a belief in the importance of "listening to children" the Commission felt that the media should take the views of children into account when presenting on an issue in which children have some interest. A common criticism of the media is that only the more grotesque cases of child abuse are reported. Such cases give the media the opportunity to "titillate" the audience with "unwholesome" stories Nelson On the other hand, it is clear that many child abuse scandals and child protection system failures would not have seen the light of day if it were not for concerned individuals and the resources of the media.

The responsible media coverage of child abuse and child protection is essential; children who require protection from the acts and omissions of adults can rarely speak for themselves. Nor is it necessary to identify a child in the pursuit of justice on his or her behalf. In fact, this was a deciding factor against the accused in two cases before the Supreme Court of Victoria December and January : Hinch v.

Director of Public Prosecutions. For the Queensland edition a decision was made not to identify those involved Scott a and the names were changed. The two stories were otherwise identical, occupying exactly the same amount of space. In Victoria, it is an offence under subs. It is a defence to a charge under the Act if the accused can prove that publication occurred with the permission of the Supreme Court, the County Court or the Magistrates Court, or with the permission of "the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed" Collins The Act does not set out special conditions pertaining to sexual offences against a child: "Parliament made no provision for that permission to be given by parents, guardians, custodians or any one else in place of the victim save a court " Victorian Reports Where consent is required to legitimate an action such as publishing the identity of a victim: "it will always be necessary to consider whether the nature and consequences of the consent have been understood.

In the case of consent under para 4 1B b of the Act, the victim must have some comprehension of the consequences of losing his or her anonymity as a victim of a sexual offence" Collins Derryn Hinch a talk-back broadcaster and TV presenter and Television and Telecasters Melbourne Pty Ltd were charged under the Act when the identity of an eight-year-old boy pseudonym William , who had been sexually assaulted by two men, was publicly revealed.

Hinch and Channel 10 argued that: "the telecast was for the purpose of criticising the perceived inadequacy of the sentences imposed by the County Court, and for the purpose of promoting an appeal" Collins He encouraged his father to "go for it" Collins The capacity of an eight-year-old child to give consent with full understanding of the implications of disclosing his or her identity was a point of contention in court.

Subsection 4 1A of the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act explicitly aims to protect all victims of sexual assault, including children, from exposure of their identity through the media. The implications of such exposure must be fully understood by the victim for his or her consent to be given for the violation of this protection of privacy. In Victoria, the privacy of children who are victims of crime may also be protected through other judicial means.

Two other Acts provide a means for a court in Victoria to impose restrictions on the publication of details leading to the identification of a victim of crime. The Magistrates Court Act s. Further, while criminal proceedings are generally held in open courts with minimal, if any, restrictions on reporting by the press: "the superior courts have an inherent right, which is exercised in exceptional circumstances, to conduct their business in camera [in a court closed to the public] or to conceal the identity of witnesses by use of pseudonyms or other means. Victoria is the only Australian state or territory that allows for criminal proceedings to be held in camera for any type of case Magistrates Court Act Vic.

Other Australian states and territories restrict in camera proceedings to cases where a sexual offence is alleged to have been committed Bishop In Victoria, there has also been recent case law on the emerging idea of allowing witnesses to use pseudonyms where they are at risk. Though not specifically designed to protect children, they can provide useful analogies Richard Fox , personal communication.

Similar Acts to those described in Victoria apply in each Australian state and territory see Bishop In Queensland, for example: "a court is required to exclude all persons, other than those excepted, from the court when the complainant is giving evidence in respect of a sexual offence [Criminal Law Sexual Offences Act Qld , s. Bishop Other than when the report is an "exempted" report, a report in a sexual case must not reveal the name, address, school or place of employment of the complainant, or any other particular likely to lead to the identification of the complainant, unless for good and sufficient reason the court makes an order to the contrary" Bishop The subject of rights to privacy of children who are subject to crime is a complex one, and a preliminary literature review suggests that little if anything has been written about the effects of media coverage of children as victims of crime.

The Australian Press Council has set out the broad principles to which it is committed November Its "Statement of Principles" argues that "the freedom of the press to publish is the freedom of the people to be informed" but is also "important because of the obligation it entails towards the people [rather than] the rights it gives to the press".

The statement also stresses that "Liberty does not mean licence". It appears that, after these broad statements, it is the third general principle that is central to the issues discussed here: "Readers of publications are entitled to have news and comment presented to them honestly and fairly, and with respect for the privacy and sensibilities of individuals. However, the right to privacy should not prevent publication of matters of public record or obvious or significant public interest" Australian Press Council "Statement of Principles", November 3.

Similarly in the United Kingdom, rights to privacy, according to a Press Council ruling, can be superseded by claims of legitimate public interest or where an individual gives consent Crone Children as victims, such as in the case of the "boy in the box" see above cannot give consent for the same reasons that they are not deemed able to give consent to sexual assault: they are not fully informed. The UK ruling stressed that public interest must be "legitimate", and not merely "prurient" interest or "morbid curiosity" Crone Something that is "of interest to the public" is not the same as "in the public interest" Crone Children are barely mentioned, if at all, in such discussions, although the UK Press Council did state that children should not be subject to "damaging" or "critical" articles just because their parents are in the public eye Crone In an examination of violence, crime and public safety, Hurst and White briefly examine the psychological effects in the context of ethics and exposure to media violence.

Setting the context, they state: "Children are smaller, weaker and less knowledgeable than adults. Until they grow in stature, strength and understanding equal to that of adults, it is unfair to take advantage of their relative powerlessness. And exercising unequal power destroys the trust children have in adults to care for them. Hurst and White suggest that children can fall between "the self-regulatory cracks", and they examine the Cangai siege.

According to Hurst and White , the Herald and Weekly Times later introduced guidelines which, amongst other aims, sought to prevent the exploitation of children while gathering news. Children are the subject of Section There are clearly many issues that are not covered by these guidelines and many problems to be resolved. When does a parent have the right to agree to the disclosure of intimate details about the welfare of his or her child? Intra-familial child abuse clearly demonstrates that parents do not always act in the best interests of their children.

When one parent abuses a child, does he or she no longer have the right to consent to disclosure? Can it be assumed that the non-abusive parent retains that right when the other parent has abused the child? There are clearly significant concerns remaining about protecting children from abuse by the media. According to the limited material available, the Australian Press Council appears to be "concerned to protect children from unnecessary publicity" Hurst and White Accusations of invasions of privacy are major issues in the ethics of journalism, according to Belsey He suggests that this is because society "values personal privacy" but also "thrives on publicity".

In their book Media Ethics , Christians et al. Holsinger also states that "questions of privacy present more hard decisions than any others", and few topics are debated more heatedly. It is interesting to note that far more attention appears to have been paid to the privacy of children as perpetrators of crime than as victims. The recognition that young offenders need privacy appears to be universally recognised on the grounds that "publicity for juvenile offenders would stigmatise them and make it more difficult for them to go straight" Holsinger There are clearly accepted arguments that young people who commit crimes "should not be haunted for the rest of their lives by the mistakes of their youth" Holsinger This is why identification of the perpetrators in the Bulger case in the United Kingdom caused such intense debate Franklin and Horwath In New Zealand, the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act states, in line with legislation elsewhere, that children should not be identified in child protection matters in civil courts dealing with such cases.

In the Youth Courts dealing with offenders offenders must not be identified and information that could lead to identification is also suppressed Burrows Burrows suggests that judges cannot overrule this by giving permission to publish details. It appears that it should be possible for a child to take action on the grounds that disclosure of such information causes injury. Although a number of authors, both in New Zealand and elsewhere, indicate that there is no clear and coherent right to privacy in common law, the right to report is clearly circumscribed by a recognised right to privacy to some degree.

The tension is clear: breaches of privacy are nearly always "justified for a higher moral purpose or public good or for a nobler motivation than privacy protection" Brill Privacy, however, is almost exclusively examined from an adult perspective. The arguments used should be even more forceful when considering the needs of a child.

De Cew, for example, describes privacy as a shield needed to protect individuals out of fear of being "scrutinised, judged, ridiculed, pressured, coerced, or otherwise taken advantage of by others" These concerns, it is argued, apply even more to the child victim of abuse. An excellent analysis of these issues is presented by Patterson and Wilkins They argue that: "while much of the debate focuses on the right to privacy, an equally compelling argument must be made for the need for privacy.

Privacy is not to be viewed as a luxury or as an option, it is a necessary component of a democracy upon which many of its values such as freedom, individual dignity, and autonomy rest" , emphases in original. Patterson and Wilkins argue that there are two particular causes of current problems. First, community standards are changing, and what was once regarded as private is now openly and commonly reported. They cite the example of breast surgery which was once regarded as entirely private but is now commonly reported and the media coverage is "credited with saving lives" The second cause they describe as arising from the fact that: "privacy is both a legal concept in the domain of the courts and an ethical concept debated by philosophers.

A confusion over which analysis is appropriate confounds our thinking" Patterson and Wilkins According to these authors, the result is that: "journalists have been caught between what the law allows and what their consciences will permit. This confusion has led to ethical bungling" A number of writers have observed that the perspectives and overall rights of victims have only recently been acknowledged, if considered at all see, for example, Fattah ; Mawby and Crill Rape victims are the exception to this, and a number of effects of victimisation have been identified.

Mawby and Crill suggest that emotional and psychological problems, behavioural and relationship difficulties, ill-health and financial costs are amongst these. Children are rarely mentioned in this limited literature on general victimology. It is noted, for example, that children in households that have been broken into are also affected by the crime Mawby and Walklate , but there are few other studies. A recurrent claim is that the criminal justice system does not place value on the perspectives of victims, who may feel that they are subject to secondary victimisation Fattah There appears to be little research on the effects of media coverage of the criminal justice system.

Rape victims, in spite of their right to privacy, are reported to suffer embarrassment Holmstrom and Burgess ; Allison and Wrightsman It is interesting to note that rape victims are seen as having anonymity for life Mawby and Walklate One of the primary benefits of anonymity for rape victims has been that they are given the space to deal with victimisation in their own way see, for example, Roberts The above summary identifies some of the issues arising from a brief review of the literature.

There are, however, a number of other unresolved issues relevant to the child victim of assault:. Throughout the Western world, awareness of child sexual abuse has led to action by members of the public to draw attention to horrific crimes against children Goddard a. British newspapers have carried many articles on the dangers created for children when convicted child sex offenders are released from prison.

The British media demonstrated that they were prepared to identify or "out" the perpetrators. A selective review Goddard a demonstrated that tabloid newspapers carried particularly graphic studies. The Liverpool Echo on 17 June , for example, devoted almost its entire front page to an "exclusive" by Jason Teasdale to the effect that a "convicted paedophile" would soon be released. Broadsheet newspapers, for example The Guardian , also carried such stories. Interestingly, The Guardian , exactly one week earlier, had carried the news that this particular man was to be released, under the headlines "In a few days this man, a convicted child rapist, will be released.

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Should you be told if he moves in next door? The story in The Guardian was accompanied by a photograph of the man, who had been detained after being found carrying a bag of books and toys. He admitted to the police that he was searching for a child Bowcott and Clouston Do child molesters deserve a second chance after they have served their sentences? Or has the public the right to know when such a menace moves in next door? Bowcott and Clouston 2. The role of newspapers in "outing" convicted child molesters is examined in another piece in the same paper by Gary Younge But there is a greater risk that children will be hurt.

The anger and the potential for tragedy are described in the piece by Bowcott and Clouston 3 : "In May , a girl aged 14 called Samantha Penell died after the house in which she had been staying was burnt down. Those who set fire to the building were looking for a paedophile. They recount other stories: a convicted child molester stabbed to death in Edinburgh, and a man in Manchester badly beaten by a gang who wrongly believed that he was a child rapist Bowcott and Clouston Such problems also occur in Australia.

The release in New South Wales of convicted child killer John Lewthwaite prompted a considerable degree of media attention. After his release his new home was attacked by local residents, angry at his presence in their community. She suggests that "growing feelings of frustration and powerlessness" have been expressed by communities as media coverage has brought home the realisation that sex offenders are living in their neighbourhoods.

These opponents also question the data on high recidivism rates and argue that most sex offences against children take place in the family or in child care. A lack of confidence in the courts pervades many discussions. On 1 August , a jury took little more than half an hour to find Morgan not guilty of murder or manslaughter. Morgan, a former detective, claimed that it was instinct that caused him to shoot an alleged child molester six times in the head with his police-issue revolver Balogh The unnamed alleged offender was killed two days after Morgan learned that the man was charged with sexual assaults on three girls aged six, eleven and fourteen.

Two of the victims were related to Morgan and the girls claimed that they had suffered four years of abuse including anal intercourse and digital penetration medical evidence confirmed that abuse had occurred. The alleged perpetrator had threatened to kill the girls if they disclosed the abuse Balogh In an editorial describing the verdict as "astonishing", the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that the fact that "juries simply do not like paedophiles" might have contributed to the decision.

How much the media create rather than reflect such a lack of confidence remains a central question. More recently in the United Kingdom, the death of Sarah Payne, eight years old, led to a major tabloid campaign. Two weeks later, her body was found a few miles away. There are , child sex offenders in Britain. The murder of Sarah Payne has proved police monitoring of these perverts is not enough. So we are revealing who they are and where they are. News of the World, 23 July , emphasis in original. Under the headline, "Does a monster live near you?

Today we start by identifying the first of these offenders but we make a pledge that we will not stop until all , are named and shamed. Week in, week out, we will add to our record so that every parent in the land can have the right to know where these people are living. It is absolutely not a charter for vigilantes. The just rule of law is crucial and outbursts of uncontrolled anger will solve nothing.

Today too, we campaign for a major change in the law: child sex perverts jailed for life must never be released. They must never get parole. Life must mean life. News of the World, 23 July , emphases in original. And so the listing began. With counties listed in alphabetical order, it was easy to search for a region of interest. It was not clear how the first 40 or so child molesters were chosen for this "naming and shaming". London had three exposed while Dumfries and Galloway, with a fraction of the population, had four. Portsmouth and Southampton had two each and there was trouble to come there News of the World, 23 July The child molesters did not appear to be picked for the type of crime.

There was a grandmother jailed for eight months for sexually assaulting two boys, a priest sent down for three years for abusing trainee priests, a man jailed for seven years for raping a girl with an intellectual disability, and a researcher fined for possession of indecent pictures of children. There were priests, a choirmaster, teachers, and a violinist, while others were merely described as a "pervert" or a "paedophile" News of the World, 23 July Other sections of the newspaper included "Help and advice, 10 facts to shock every parent", including a Scotland Yard claim that 64 per cent of child molesters "re-offend four or more years after their first conviction", and "What to do if there is a pervert on your doorstep", with guidelines from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

An interview with Ray Wyre, described as a "senior sex crime psychologist" ran under the headline "Their evil is incurable, says crime expert" News of the World, 23 July This campaign demonstrated that the media are not united in approaches to child abuse. Opposition to the News of the World campaign was not slow in appearing. The paper remained defiant, despite the criticism. The criticism was persistent.

The first reports of mistaken identity started to appear now, with a man in Manchester mistaken for one of those named and shamed.

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The Daily Telegraph editorial wasted no time in attacking the News of the World:. Rebekah Wade, the new editor of the News of the World, claims the most high-minded and public-spirited motives for her decision to publish the names and whereabouts of , people who have been convicted of sex offences against children. She is doing it, she says, for Sarah Payne, the eight-year-old whose naked body was found in West Sussex.

Ms Wade stressed that she did not want any "vigilante acts". Editorial, The Daily Telegraph, 24 July The paper then goes on to criticise the "extreme animosity" displayed by the News of the World towards those named and shamed by giving examples of the language used:. Meanwhile the leader column raged: "No more freedom for the fiends". If Ms Wade is really against displaying animosity, her choice of inflammatory language is inexplicable. Voice of the Mirror, 3 August 6.

It now seems to be Wade herself who is hiding. Born a: Even the public support for the campaign was challenged:. The News of the World boasted that public opinion was firmly behind its campaign, with 88 per cent in favour of "naming and shaming" sex offenders. But public opinion is fickle. Successful newspaper campaigns — which can take years — need to have the backing of at least some relevant experts. The Daily Telegraph pursued the News of the World just as the News of the World was determined to pursue child molesters. Probation officers produced a dossier of evidence yesterday to show that children were being put at risk as a result of the campaign by the News of the World to "name and shame" paedophiles.

Laville 6. A measured piece with the headline "Killing of child brought change to US law", the article provided arguments for and against such a law Fenton 6. The News of the World yesterday abandoned its campaign to "name and shame" paedophiles amid increasing criticism that it was to blame for vigilante attacks. The Sunday tabloid, which has published photographs and addresses of 83 convicted sex offenders over two weeks, said it was dropping its "naming procedure" after meeting the police and child welfare groups.

Born b: 1. Inside the paper, and flagged on page one, three pieces described how the campaign went wrong, and were so flagged on page one. On some accounts, journalists are crusaders uncovering the truth, according to Franklin This understanding is based on six assumptions: journalists are independent of government; journalism is "relatively egalitarian"; journalism is conducted independently of economic pressure; journalists act as "watchdogs" of the public interest; and journalists underpin democratic principles Franklin These "giddy claims", Franklin 29 , provoke "incredulity" amongst many, and the assumptions must be significantly qualified.

Aldridge examined the UK print media coverage of a number of child abuse deaths during the period , including the death of Tyra Henry. She concludes that: "In its intimate relationship with the family and the state, social services work offers a multi-faceted and very soft target for some sections of the national press when intervention seems to have failed in certain specific circumstances" Aldridge On the other hand, Aldridge suggests that there are other occasions when: "any intervention at all is construed as a mistake, and still others when real mistakes seem not to produce the furore that they could have — or even should have" Aldridge As noted above, such events may be described as "legislation by tabloid" Franklin and Lavery 26 or as "tabloid turbulence" Moore Goddard and Liddell , argue that this media coverage needs to be taken seriously.

Aldridge suggests that broadsheet newspapers have not only become more like tabloids a process she calls "tabloidisation" 93 but that broadsheets have a similar "architecture" Broadsheets and tabloids in Australia have all taken part in calls for child protection reform. This writing is frequently criticised for being too emotional: "Much of the writing on child abuse is emotional, reflecting the strong feelings aroused by the subject. Many articles, books and broadsheets are laced with affect and tinged with hyperbole.

Objective and balanced writing exists, but not in overabundance" Myers b: While much of the scholarly analysis of the media coverage of child abuse and child protection has considered what has been described as the "unevenness" of reporting Franklin and Parton 9 , little attention has been paid to analysis of the language used to describe child abuse and the child victims in media texts. Goddard and Saunders a: 39 suggest that this deficit may, in part at least, be due to the complexity of the issue: "Discourse analysis involves a number of disciplines, including literary studies, philosophy, sociology, social and cognitive psychology, linguistics and others.

In contrast, the importance of the language used to describe social issues has been widely recognised in other fields. The news, as Fowler has noted, is not "a natural phenomenon" but "a product". Language is seen as a major issue for feminists Cameron with sexist features of language well documented Fairclough The media have been described as projecting and perpetuating racism Smitherman-Donaldson and Van Dirk Myths about rape, it is claimed, have been perpetuated by gender bias in language Benedict Fairclough argues that textual analysis should play an important role in all social science research.

In methodological terms, texts can produce evidence about social structures, processes and relationships. Historical analysis can provide evidence of social change while, in political terms, social control and domination are exercised through texts Fairclough Goddard and Saunders a describe research examining the coverage of child abuse cases in three major Australian newspapers together with some analysis of UK newspapers. Goddard and Saunders a cite examples from tabloid and broadsheet newspapers where children described as abused, neglected or at risk may lose their gender as the story unfolds.

The pronoun "it" is substituted and, as a result, the child originally described as a boy or girl becomes an object. They label this phenomenon "gender slippage" a: 42 and propose that it may be "an emotional, perhaps unconscious response, to unpleasant situations" a: Textual analysis of some child sexual abuse reports led to the discovery that the words used to describe the abuse may seriously reduce the seriousness of the offences. The headline clearly states the seriousness of the offences, but textual analysis by the researchers revealed that the serious and repeated sexual assault of the young girl has been represented in a way that reduces the impact of the crimes.

The sexual assault is called an "affair", the perpetrator and victim are described as having a "relationship", and the victim and perpetrator are even called "the couple" Goddard and Saunders a: The irony, of course, is that perpetrators of such serious abuse often use this "lexical redescription" a: 43 in order to rationalise their violence against, and sexual abuse of, children Butterworth Such language in the media reframes serious sexual abuse of a child by an adult male as a "consensual relationship between adults" Goddard and Saunders a: On April 20 The Age carried an unattributed story "Mother killed 4 babies, court told".

Accompanied by a small postage-stamp sized photograph of a woman identified as Ms. On the same day The Herald Sun , under the headline "Four murder counts" reported the same story, also on page three:. A year-old mother charged with the deaths of her four infant children appeared in court yesterday. The Herald Sun story was also accompanied by a photograph, slightly larger, of Ms. Unfortunately, the woman pictured on page three of the Herald Sun did not appear to be the same woman pictured on page three of The Age.

Mrs R. The Age profoundly regrets the error and apologises to Mrs R. On the same day The Australian carried a more prominent story under the headline "Wrong woman in death photo". The journalists reported that:. A woman wrongly identified as an alleged murderess in front page newspaper reports was traumatised and under heavy sedation at her home yesterday. Walker, Tedmanson and Videnieks 3. The "Media" supplement in The Australian provided an analysis by Mark Day of the "terrible mistake":. Mistakes do happen.

Newspapers are put together by humans. The remarkable thing is that there are not more mistakes. A newspaper without a single error would be worth framing. Day 4. The tone of the analysis by the media of a media "mistake" starkly contrasts with the criticisms by much of the media of child protection "mistakes". In spite of claims that media interest in child abuse is a "fairly recent phenomenon" Franklin and Parton 11 , press coverage of the problem has been discovered as early as the mid-nineteenth century.

Over time however, the intensity of media coverage has changed see Introduction above and the focus has shifted to an assessment of child protection responses. In the United Kingdom, in particular, social workers in child protection are: "denounced as wimps if they fail to intervene but decried as bullies if they intervene too much. Despite acknowledgment that child protection work is "immensely difficult, extremely stressful, maybe dangerous to the workers, and more often criticised than appreciated" Saunders and Goddard a: 41 , child protection workers "rather than the abuser can appear in press reports as the major threat to children" Franklin 8.

This no-win situation faced by child protection workers is arguably inherent in their potentially conflicting duties to both protect children and to preserve families Goddard b. Child protection work inevitably involves both "assessing risk and taking risks" Cooper 78 , and it is acknowledged that child protection work: "is complex, overwhelming, multidisciplinary and multi-dimensional. Ethical, moral and emotional issues abound…High levels of complexity and uncertainty inevitably create anxiety in workers and organisations" Goddard, Saunders, Stanley and Tucci There is also recognition that professional judgements must be made, and that inevitably, decisions will sometimes be wrong and have tragic outcomes.

As a consequence,the negativemedia coverage of child protection responses to child abuse has led to the development of more sophisticated media strategies on the part of the organisations see, for example, Goddard and Liddell ; Franklin and Parton Issues of privacy and confidentiality often constrain direct challenges to media coverage but, nonetheless, there have been concerted attempts to develop effective and productive relationships with the media. Franklin and Parton suggest that these are created: "both for coping defensively with persistent media hostility and, more proactively, for promoting more positive and sympathetic images.

In spite of these public relations developments, individual practitioners in child health and welfare may still be identified and their practice may be subjected to close and critical scrutiny. This trend started in the UK with the inquiry into the death of Maria Colwell in The social worker in that case, identified in the media, became the focus of the "search for blame", and requested protection when she appeared at the public inquiry proceedings Aldridge Developments in building better relationships with the media may enhance the image of the organisations involved, but many offer little protection to individual workers working in less than optimal circumstances.

As noted above, the media play an important role in constructing what is "deviant" in our society and, therefore, what is normal Ericson et al. Ericson and his colleagues argue that journalists articulate the "proper bounds to behaviour" in our society 3. Children are the only "group of people" in our society who are "routinely hit" Willow and Hyder 93 , sometimes with both legal and social sanction. Indeed, McGillivray has observed that "childhood at present is defined by corporal punishment". However, media coverage of the physical punishment of children and the language employed rarely focuses on the perspectives of children see, for example, Willow and Hyder Further, the physical punishment of children presents the media with an opportunity to use puns in newspaper headlines see Saunders and Goddard b and a :.

As noted by Saunders and Goddard , such reporting stands in stark contrast to the coverage of events where a child is seriously or fatally injured as a result of excessive physical punishment, or "reasonable" physical discipline "gone wrong". The tone of media reporting in such cases aptly reflects the seriousness of this issue:. Although the physical punishment of children has been banned in a number of countries Sweden ; Finland ; Norway ; Austria ; Cyprus ; Denmark ; Latvia ; Croatia ; Germany ; and Bulgaria , it appears that the media in Australia prefer to regard it as "normal" rather than "deviant" behaviour.

In some cases the "light smack or tap on the hand or bottom" Goddard a: turns "into beating and so along the line to the point where abuse laws, or the criminal law, can be invoked" Boss Indeed, many deaths and severe injuries of infants and young children may be linked to "confusion about, or reluctance to condemn, corporal punishment of a child" Goddard a: As a general rule, media coverage of the issue in Australia has tended to be conservative and has failed to make the connection see Saunders and Goddard b.

This view of "physical punishment" is also reflected in the media elsewhere. The following headlines appeared in the same newspaper within one week:.

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The principal focus of the book is on what Hechler terms the "backlash". Hechler, an investigative journalist, claims that a "backlash" started in Jordan, Minnesota.

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A widely publicised case, where it was alleged that adults ran a child sex ring, collapsed and defendants were acquitted. Just as the media "discovered" child abuse, according to Hechler it also "discovered" the "backlash". Hechler 7 links cases where "charges turned bizarre" to the creation of a "backlash": "Allegedly abused children were talking about strange rituals, possibly satanic, involving the killing. They told of eating excrement, drinking urine, and observing the murder. It is interesting to note the language used by Hechler in his book.

He writes that "one thing is clear: there is a war" 3, emphasis in original. A newspaper advertisement likening a pre-school sexual abuse case to a witch hunt is described as "an example of the salvos that have been fired" Hechler 3. Vincent Bugliosi , the Los Angeles prosecutor who became a best-selling author with "Helter Skelter" -- his true-crime account of the Manson family killings -- died June 6, his wife said. Singer Ronnie Gilbert , a member of the influential s folk group the Weavers, died June 6.

Actress Betsy Palmer died May 29 of natural causes at a hospice care center near her home in Danbury, Connecticut, according to her manager Brad Lemack. Comedian and actor Reynaldo Rey died on May 28 of complications from a stroke, according to his manager. Mary Ellen Mark , one of the premier documentary photographers of her generation, died May Mark's photography spanned decades, and her subjects included celebrities, world leaders and people on the fringe of society.

John Forbes Nash Jr. The body of extreme-sports legend Dean Potter was found in Yosemite National Park during a helicopter search May 17, park spokesman Scott Gediman said.


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  • Potter was 43, and Hunt was Blues legend B. King , who helped bring blues from the margins to the mainstream, died May 14 in Las Vegas, according to his daughter Patty King. Two weeks earlier, it was announced that King was in home hospice care after suffering from dehydration. Elizabeth Wilson , a longtime character actress who played Dustin Hoffman's mother, Mrs. Braddock, in "The Graduate," died May 9.

    Brown was The Texas Democrat's congressional career spanned more than three decades. Ellen Albertini Dow , perhaps best known as the rapping granny in the movie "The Wedding Singer," died May 5 at the age of She also appeared in "Wedding Crashers" and dozens of TV shows. Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya , who was considered one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century, died on May 2.

    Singer Ben E. King , whose classic hit "Stand by Me" became an enduring testament of love and devotion for generations of listeners, died on April Jack Ely , co-founder of the early '60s band The Kingsmen and best known for his rendition of the party classic "Louie, Louie," died April 28 after a long battle with an illness. Andrew Lesnie , the Oscar-winning cinematographer who spent more than a decade collaborating with Peter Jackson on the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" films, died April Sawyer Sweeten , left, grew up before millions as a child star on the family sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond.

    Sawyer was a year and a half old when he started on "Raymond," playing alongside his real-life twin brother, Sullivan, at right.

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    He is believed to have drowned at a beach in Montego Bay, the Jamaica Constabulatory Force said in a press release. Crombie died from complications of a brain hemorrhage, "Anne of Green Gables" producer Kevin Sullivan said. Nobel literature laureate Gunter Grass , best known for his novel "The Tin Drum," has died, his publisher said April Law," has died at the age of 86, it was reported on April 9.

    Stan Freberg , acclaimed satirist, died of natural causes at a Santa Monica, California, hospital, his son and daughter confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on April 7. James Best , the actor best known for his portrayal of bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Robert Lewis Burns Jr. The Rev. Robert H. Schuller , televangelist and founder of the Crystal Cathedral church in California, died on April 2, according to his family. He was 88 years old. Cynthia Lennon , the first wife of John Lennon, died April 1, according to a post on the website of her son, Julian. Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew died on March 23, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's office.

    Lee, credited for transforming the colonial trading post into a prosperous financial center, was admitted to a hospital in February with severe pneumonia. Pero , a longtime drummer for the metal band Twisted Sister, died on March 20, according to the band's Facebook page and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. Pero was For more than two decades, bassist Mike Porcaro was a rock star with the band Toto, playing venues around the world.

    Best-selling British fantasy author Terry Pratchett died at the age of 66, his website said March Pratchett wrote more than 70 books, including those in his "Discworld" series. He had been diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer's disease in Glatzer was Windell D. His family also posted a statement on his Facebook page confirming the year-old's death.

    No cause of death was provided. Sam Simon , the nine-time Emmy Award-winning writer and producer who helped develop "The Simpsons," made millions after leaving the show in and then donated his riches to charity, has died, his foundation announced on Facebook on March 9. Albert Maysles , who collaborated with his late brother David in a documentary film career that included the troubling concert documentary "Gimme Shelter," died March 5.

    Character actor Daniel von Bargen , seen here in the film "Lord of Illusions," was better-known for playing George Costanza's inept boss Mr. Kruger on "Seinfeld" and a hard-nosed military commander on "Malcolm in the Middle. Leonard Nimoy , whose portrayal of "Star Trek's" logic-driven, half-human science officer Spock made him an iconic figure to generations, died on February Actor Ben Woolf died February 23 at the age of The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that he had been hit by a car's side mirror several days earlier in Hollywood.

    Mexican telenovela actress Lorena Rojas died February 17 at her Miami home. The year-old had been battling cancer since Lesley Gore , whose No. According to People magazine , the cause of death was cancer. Former U. Voice-over performer Gary Owens died Friday, February 13, at the age of Owens, a former radio disc jockey, was known as the voice of Space Ghost, Batman and many other characters.

    He gained nationwide fame in the late s as the straight-laced announcer on TV's frenetic "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. New York Times media columnist David Carr died suddenly after collapsing in the newspaper's newsroom on Thursday, February Jerry Tarkanian , a legendary basketball coach who won the national championship at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, died Wednesday, February Basketball coach Dean Smith, who led the University of North Carolina from to and won two national championships over his illustrious career, died February 7 at the age of 83, according to the university's official athletics website.

    Billy Casper , a pioneer of professional golf whose career spanned more than four decades, died at the age of 83, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on February 7. His resume included three major titles and 51 PGA Tour wins. Sifford was Ernie Banks , a Hall of Fame baseball player nicknamed "Mr.

    Cub," died January 23 in Chicago, family attorney Mark Bogen said. Banks was It wasn't immediately clear how he had died. The death of punk music producer Kim Fowley was announced on January But he will be likely be remembered most for helping form the Runaways. Anita Ekberg , the actress and international sex symbol best known for her role in "La Dolce Vita," died in Italy on January Actor and comedian Taylor Negron died after a long battle with cancer, according to his family on January Andrae Crouch , a seven-time Grammy winner and gospel music legend, died January 8 at a Los Angeles-area hospital, his publicist said.

    Edward Brooke , the first African-American to be popularly elected to the U. Brooke was Country music star Little Jimmy Dickens , a fixture at the Grand Ole Opry for decades, died January 2 after having a stroke on Christmas, according to the Opry's website. Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, whose passionate keynote address at the Democratic political convention vaulted him onto the national political scene, died on January 1.

    He was weeks away from his 20th birthday. At this sensitive time, our family requests privacy and we beg of you to reach out to the ones you love. Sweeten, best known for his role Geoffrey Barone, was visiting family in Texas, entertainment industry magazine Hollywood Reporter reported , where he is believed to have shot himself on the front porch.

    Sawyer Sweeten was born in May in Brownwood, Texas. He was a year and a half old when he started on "Raymond," playing next to his real-life twin brother Sullivan, who starred as Michael Barone, according to the website IMDb. The show was about the adults, and the children, especially the twins, had bit parts, adorable cameo moments.

    In the beginning, they were too young to speak. The series developed a loyal following and ran from September through May