The inaugural Awards were already extremely competitive and EVAW received over 150 entries across the seven categories.
The Awards aim to recognize and celebrate exemplary reporting on violence against women and girls in print, broadcast and online news, features, comment and documentaries – reporting which explains how and why abuse happens, is respectful of victims and survivors, and which has an impact on public debate.
Guardian Opinion piece by Lola Okolosie exploring the systemic problem of sexual harassment in UK schools;
BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour’s compelling segments exploring coercive control & domestic violence on The Archers;
Writing for The Debrief, Salma Haidrani reported on the high incidence of so called ‘honour-based’ violence in the UK;
New journalist winner Samara Linton, who wrote for Black Ballad about women detained in Yarl’s Wood detention centre, and about three black women’s experiences of mental health, including after experiencing sexual violence;
Radhika Sanghani in The Telegraph critically examining the impact of current UK abortion law on women seeking abortions;
ITV Exposure’s documentary revealing the child sexual abuse committed by Clement Freud.
A Wooden Spoon prize was awarded to the Daily Mail for an article which claims that the “only way” to prevent women from becoming victims of revenge pornography is for women to change their behavior, entirely overlooking the actions of controlling and abusive men. Judges lamented the “staggering hypocrisy” in the fact that the article, which reprimands women for “posing for nude photos and videos” was published by an outlet which simultaneously trades in ‘side-bar’ images of women, some of which are semi-nude, and many of which are taken without the women’s knowledge or consent.
The seven awards categories were judged by both journalists and experts on violence against women and girls. The panel was chaired by writer and journalist Joan Smith and included Victoria Derbyshire, the Telegraph’s Claire Cohen, Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, Viv Groskop, Zlakha Ahmed, founder of Apna Haq, and Chief Executive of Women’s Aid Polly Neate (full list of judges below).
Many judges commented that they were impressed at the scale and quality of the entries which gives them hope for the way good journalism can help change attitudes in this area.
One judge said of one entry, “searing and angry yet managing composure at the same time”. Other pieces were commended for “Putting the woman at the centre of the story and showing her as having agency”.
New Journalist winner Samara Linton was described by judges as a “clearly versatile and gifted writer” whose writing “effectively links the experiences of individual black women to wider structural inequalities”.
Salma Haidrani’s winning Features entry titled ‘Think Honour Killings Don’t Happen in the UK? Think Again’ was commended for “helping the reader through the material gently and challenges myths in an organic way” and for being “well researched and not sensationalised”.
The winning Documentary entry – ITV Exposure’s investigation into child sex abuse perpetrated by Sir Clement Freud – was praised for representing survivors in a “respectful and dignified manner”.
By recognising the very best reporting of violence against women and girls, the Awards aim to encourage investment in stories that are informed, accurate, sensitive and fair, and that help to ‘set the agenda’ and create public debate and change.
Journalist and Awards Chair Joan Smith explains why these awards are needed:
“The media are in a unique position not just to report on but to shape public perceptions about violence against women. There is some first-class journalism out there and it has the power to expose under-reported forms of abuse such as trafficking and so-called ‘honour’-based violence. Sadly, there is still a tendency in some quarters to recycle myths about rape and domestic violence, including ideas about how victims ‘should’ behave.
“I am delighted that these awards have been created to recognise journalists and editors who, despite the prejudice that still exists towards victims, report on violence against women in a sensitive, constructive and informative way.
“In the past, documentaries like Roger Graef’s ground-breaking exposure of the way Thames Valley Police “interrogated” a rape complainant and more recently the London Evening Standard’s high-profile campaign on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) have helped to change the way our society responds to these crimes. These awards demonstrate the breadth of contemporary journalism in this field and I hope it will encourage a wider debate about how these vital issues are covered.”
The ‘Write to End Violence Against Women Awards’, which recognise great Scottish journalism in this area published their shortlist and announced their winners on 6 December 2016. The End Violence Against Women Coalition hopes that both sets of Awards will help increase discussion about good journalism on violence against women and girls, and make editors and commissioners more likely to give it the green light.
SHORTLIST AND WINNERS:
Winner: Salma Haidrani, The Debrief, ‘Think Honour Killings Don’t Happen in the UK?’
Runners-Up: Sarah Ditum, New Statesman, ‘The reporting of India Chipchase’s murder shows the true extent of Britain’s rape culture’ and Rosamund Urwin, Evening Standard, ‘How the battle to beat tube gropers has gone off the rails’
Judges:Polly Neate (Womens’ Aid), Dr Fiona Vera Gray (Centre for Gender Equal Media) and Victoria Derbyshire (BBC).
Winner: Lola Okolosie, Guardian, ‘Sexual violence at schools is endemic. The government can’t ignore it any longer’
Runners-Up: Kate Lloyd, Broadly, ‘There’s a Rape Problem at Music Festivals and Nobody Seems to Care’ and Zahra Dalilah, Gal-Dem, ‘Nate Parker Defenders: Racism is Real, but so is Rape Culture’.
Judges: Dr Carlene Firmin (University of Bedford, MsUnderstood), Diana Nammi (Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation), Zlakha Ahmed (Apna Haq) and Dr Cynthia Carter (Cardiff School of Journalism).
Winner: ITV Exposure, Abused & betrayed – A Life Sentence (Simon Egan, Esella Hawkey)
Judges:Chris Green (White Ribbon), Marisa Bate (The Pool), End Violence against Women coalition
Winner: BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Coercive Control & Domestic Violence on The Archers
Judges:Louise Whitefield (Deighton Pierce Glynn), Molly Ackhurst (Hollaback), Katherine Butler (Guardian), Claire Cohen (Telegraph).
Winner: Samara Linton, Black Ballad
Judges: Lia Latchford (Imkaan), Roz Hardie (Lewisham Disability Coalition), Viv Groskop
Winner: Radhika Sanghani, Telegraph, ‘Womens charities call to end cruel abortion laws in the UK’
Runners-Up: Harriet Hall, Stylist, ‘Harrowing video reveals the true impact of long-term domestic abuse’ and Mark Leftly, ‘Government to ignore pleas to to ringfence money for black, Asian and minority ethnic females who have suffered abuse’.
Judges: Jill Saward (JURIES), Elli Moody (GirlGuiding), Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff (gal-dem) and Laura Bates (Everyday Sexism).