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Reporting on Sexual Violence: A guide for journalists

Why a Guide for Journalists?

Journalists play an important role by informing the public about the significant impact of sexual violence in our communities. This guide supports their work by providing:

  • Insights into current trends
  • Examples of major news stories
  • Resources to report on sexual violence with accuracy and sensitivity
  • Sources for statistics and information as background to news stories
  • Contacts for local, state, and national experts on sexual violence


The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) developed this guide with input from journalists, state and federal administrators, victim/survivor advocates, legal and law enforcement professionals, and educators. Portions of the guide were originally developed by The Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) in its 2004 document, Reporting Sexual Assault: A Guide for Journalists. MNCASA gratefully acknowledges MCADSV’s willingness to share sections of its publication for reproduction in this document (cited where used). Thank you to Evelyn Anderson for her copy editing assistance for the first edition. This guide was first published in 2013 and updated in 2017.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2010-SW-AX-0041 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, United States Department of Justice (OVW DOJ). The opinions, finding, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this program are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of OVW DOJ.

In recognition that victims/survivors of sexual assault are any gender, we have avoided using “he” or “she” pronouns throughout this manual, unless the context requires specificity.

Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault
161 Rondo Avenue, Suite 1001
St. Paul, MN 55103

This manual is only available online. Please credit MNCASA when the manual is used as a source.