CAJ Ethics Committee releases guidelines for naming sexual assault complainants

On Tuesday, February 16, The Canadian Association of Journalists released a discussion paper from its Ethics Advisory Committee that explores the ethical issues surrounding sexual assault complainants who either consent to, or are considering consenting to, being publically identified by a news organization. With the high profile Jian Ghomeshi trial underway and complainant Lucy DeCoutere choosing to forgo a ban on identifying her in the media, this paper comes at a time when all concerned in these types of cases need to carefully consider their actions and the potential outcomes.

The paper discusses best practices for reporters dealing with complainants who are considering identifying themselves, to ensure they have informed consent and that both parties understand the consequences. The paper also considers a variety of options that may mitigate the risk of harassment, shaming, and other unintended consequences for those choosing to go public, through the media, as sexual assault complainants.

Meredith Levine, FIMS Lecturer and co-chair of the Committee, co-wrote the discussion paper with Bert Bruser and Kathy English of the Toronto Star and Lisa Taylor of Ryerson University.

J-Source: CAJ Ethics committee: Guidelines for naming sexual assault complainants.