“They don’t care about my life, or my children’s lives, all they want to do is get a headline.”
Family Member, Dundee.
When a family member goes to prison the family feel like they’ve hit rock bottom, but when their address is printed in the press they have a whole new situation to deal with.
Despite Council of Europe Recommendations, and the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child, when a person is sentenced for a crime their home address is usually printed in the press leaving their children and families to face victimisation from their communities and the general public.
According to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, “When reporting a court case, a newspaper normally reports details about the defendants and witnesses such as their name, age and address. Normally, newspapers will report a partial address (for example John Smith of High Street). However, journalists are allowed to publish someone’s full address, if this is necessary to identify someone.”
However, by the time the story has been published ‘John Smith’ has already been found guilty and is now on his way to prison to serve his sentence.
Meanwhile his children and families have to suffer hate mail, death threats, arson attempts, graffiti, and numerous other anti-social acts aimed at the perpetrator but felt directly by the innocent family.
This is in direct violation of Council of Europe Recommendation Article 55 which states: “Information provided to, and by, the media should not violate the right to privacy and protection of children and their families, including data protection rules, and any media reporting should be carried out in a child-friendly manner.”
Currently in Scotland, this is not the case.
At Families Outside we support thousands of families each year and a large percentage of them report issues such as their family name and home addresses being published when the individual is already in prison. This leads to child protection issues including:
- Vigilante groups visiting the home address
- Children being targeted/bullied at school which can lead them to being removed from school
- Increased anxiety and fear of leaving the house in case families face further incidents.
- Inaccuracies in reporting which many families don’t complain about for fear the media reprint the story causing them even more negative attention.
In order to protect vulnerable children and families from facing these issues we are running a campaign, #NoAddressInThePress, where we are encouraging people to sign our petition in the hope that we can change legislation and stop private addresses being printed by the media.
To support us and help protect vulnerable families please sign now! #NoAddressInThePress