Taking on domestic violence: A media approach

08 May 2013

 

“We share a common objective to build a society with zero tolerance for domestic violence,” declared UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Alessandro Fracassetti, “This objective necessarily involves a fundamental change in public attitudes—a task in which the media has a key role to play. Media should be encouraged to approach the problem of domestic violence in its entirety as opposed to focusing solely on separate incidents.“

Fracassetti was speaking at a high-level awareness-raising event organized as part of a project currently being implemented by UNDP and UN Women in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy entitled Preventing domestic violence through competent national institutions and an accountable and transparent judicial system. Participants at the discussion included over 30 journalists and editors, a number of MPs and Government ministers, as well as NGO representatives and experts on the issue of domestic violence. And while these views inevitably differed in certain aspects, a clear message emerged from the discussion — the message that only an integrated and joint approach involving all key stakeholders will be effective in changing attitudes to domestic violence.

Participants agreed, that the media has a crucial role in the prevention of domestic violence by raising awareness and educating the public. The media has a key role inshaping public opinion and therefore has a central part to play in breaking downprevailing stereotypes and negative patterns of behavior that can lead to domestic violence. Moreover, the media can help victims of domestic violence by publicizing information about support services accessible.

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands, H.E. Marriët Schuurman, emphasized that “Eradicating domestic violence is possible only with the help of the media because the words the journalist send have the power to reach everybody’s homes. No country is immune to this universal problem and when it comes to tackling the problem through the media, domestic violence should not be considered as only a personal problem. On the contrary, domestic violence is a societal issue that influences children and family and sets patterns of behaviour and tendencies that reappear in the next generations.“

Within the framework of the project, by November 2013, three more events will take place, some of them at local level, that would raise awareness, prove discussion and link various stakeholders together.