THE MEDIA AND CHILD ABUSE


A look at the role of media.

One of the key moments in media coverage of child abuse in the UK came in October 1986 with the broadcast of a major BBC programme, Childwatch (Kitzinger, 2004: 35, Parton 1991: 91). The Childwatch programme was accompanied by a remarkable expansion in attention to child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, from other TV formats as well as the print media. Reporting of sexual abuse in The Times newspaper, for example, increased by 300 per cent between 1985 and 1987 (Kitzinger 2004). Moreover sexual abuse within families became the subject of a number of flagship UK documentary series, including Brass Tacks (BBC2 1987), Everyman (BBC1 1988) Antenna (BBC1 1989), and Horizon (BB2 1989). Kitzinger (2004:36) has also noted the importance of fictional genre in highlighting this issue. By the early 1990s child sexual abuse had begun to appear in British and American drama series and became the subject of ‘true crime’ features. It also featured in soap operas, most notably Brookside (Channel 4) which ran a two-year storyline on a family traumatised by an abusive father.

The complete article

Fred Powell and Margaret Scanlon — Discover Society

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