sexual offences
Pages 3

The British media are reasonably well behaved towards the victims of sexual offences. What journalists call ‘good stories’ are curbed out of a desire not to cause further harm to people, especially children, who have been sexually assaulted. The law goes a long way to protect, providing anonymity for victims of rape, people who are victims of a number of other sexual crimes and for children generally. Media rules add to the protection. The newspapers’ code of practice says ‘The press should not, even where the law does not prohibit it, identify children under the age of sixteen who are involved in cases concerning sexual offences, whether as victims, or as witnesses or defendants.’ BBC guidelines go further. They say it was BBC policy not normally to reveal the identity of victims of sexual crime long before the law was changed in 1992 to extend anonymity for rape victims to the victims of a range of other sex crimes.