Out of the Shadows: Reporting on Intimate Partner Violence

October 21-22, 2011
Columbia Journalism School
116th St. and Broadway
New York, NY, 10027, United States

Across the United States, nearly five million women and three million men each year face violent abuse within an intimate relationship. Intimate partner violence transcends race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexual orientation, and poses a serious public health problem for all communities. It challenges law enforcement and courts, health professions and educators, community organizations and government agencies.  The challenge deepens within groups contending with special vulnerabilities.  One in four teenagers report verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse from a dating partner each year. Immigrants and refugees may resist reporting abuse to police for fear of jeopardizing their legal status or that of their family.  Lesbians and gay men whose families and friends are unsupportive of their sexuality often have fewer sources of support, increasing isolation and making it more difficult to leave abusive relationships.

The workshop featured a wide range of national and local mental health and policy experts, award-winning journalists, educators and prevention advocates. It included background briefings as well as specialized reporting skills training to enhance journalists’ capacity to report on relationship violence knowledgeably, ethically and effectively. It examined these issues across  diverse communities and special populations including teenagers, immigrants and refugees; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals.

The workshop:

  • Served as a forum for improving journalists’ knowledge of critical issues such as the mental and physical health impacts of intimate partner violence; innovations in prevention and intervention; social, economic and legal implications, and responses by schools, public health institutions, and community and faith-based organizations;
  • Explored new research, reporting ideas and best practices with leading mental health, policy, and prevention experts;
  • Confronted challenges — and identified opportunities — that exist for journalists pursuing these stories with limited resources;
  • Provided practical tools to enable journalists to successfully produce stories that examine the problem of intimate partner violence in diverse communities and serve to educate and encourage prevention.

Participation was open to working reporters, editors, photographers, producers or bloggers for print, broadcast or online media.


Donna Ferrato

Documentary Photographer

Ann Jones

Writer and Photographer

Emily F. Rothman, Sc.D.

Professor of Community Health

Esta Soler

Founder, Futures Without Violence

Robert Anda, M.D.

Senior Researcher of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology

Sacha Pfeiffer

Host and Senior Reporter, WBUR

Janice C. Humphreys

Associate Professor, UCSF

Jimmie Briggs

Executive Director, Man Up Campaign

Rachel Dissell

Metro Reporter, The Plain Dealer

Maria Hinojosa

Broadcast Journalist

Sharon Stapel

Executive Director, NYC Anti-Violence Project

Kristen Lombardi

Staff Writer, Center for Public Integrity

Susan Herman

Associate Professor, Pace University

Rita Henley Jensen

Editor in Chief, Women's eNews

Kristin Schubert

Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Mieko Yoshihama

Associate Professor, University of Michigan

Stephanie Nilva

Executive Director, Day One

Elaine Korry

Independent Journalist

Malcolm L. Astley, Ed.D.

Educator, Father of Lauren Astley

Jan Hoffman

New York Times Staff Writer