February 9, 2005

ARTICLES & RESOURCES: 'Report child witness cases sensitively' (UK)

'Report child witness cases sensitively'
By HoldtheFrontPage staff

Regional journalists are being urged to report with sensitivity when covering court cases involving child witnesses.

New research by the NSPCC and Victim Support has shown that some victims of child abuse who give evidence in court only hear about the outcome of the case through their local newspaper or radio station.

And as part of its new Caring for Children in Court Appeal to support child abuse victims giving evidence, the NSPCC has urged journalists to help minimise what is a traumatic experience by using sensitivity when deciding what details to include and how to treat coverage.

Veteran broadcaster Noel Edmonds is chairman of the NSPCC appeal.

He said: "New research shows that some child witnesses find out about the results of their case from newspaper and radio reports.

"If details of cases are not reported sensitively, children can become very distressed.

"We would appeal to journalists reporting on the courts to bear in mind the impact of what they write on these vulnerable children."

The charity's appeal aims to support child witnesses via expert NSPCC services and to change how courts work to reduce children's suffering.

As part of its campaign 50 witnesses in criminal proceedings between the ages of seven and 17 were asked about their experiences of going to court.

The findings have been published in a report entitled In their own words: The experiences of 50 young witnesses in criminal proceedings.

SOURCE: http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/news/2005/02feb/050209wit.shtml

DOWNLOAD SITE FOR FULL REPORT AS PDF-FILE (200 KB): http://www.nspcc.org.uk/inform/Research/Summaries/InTheirOwnWords.asp


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