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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111

Abstract

VIVES-CASES, Carmen; RUIZ, María Teresa; ALVAREZ-DARDET, Carlos  and  MARTIN, Marta. Recent history of the news coverage of violence against women in Spain, 1997-2001. Gac Sanit [online]. 2005, vol.19, n.1, pp. 22-28. ISSN 0213-9111.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0213-91112005000100006.

Objectives: To explore press coverage of violence against women between 1997 and 2001, and to analyze the temporal development of murders due to this cause in Spain and the social context in which these media events take place. Methods: Quantitative content analyses were performed of 865 news items on violence against women in the Spanish newspapers El País, ABC and El Mundo (1997-2001). Absolute and relative frequencies, and relative risk (RR), 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), were calculated. Crude mortality rates were calculated for violence against women (1998-2003) based on the Register of the Federation of Separated and Divorced Women. Results: Press coverage of violence against women increased, coinciding with dramatic events and political responses to the problem. In this context, mortality from this cause remained constant. News about incidents (65%) were more frequent than news about interventions (35%). In news items in which sex was identified (35% of the total), women (n = 151) and men (n = 150) shared the role of principle information source. Men from law institutions (RR = 1.77; 95% CI, 1.44-2.17) and women from health institutions (RR = 0.39; 95% CI, 0.14-1.08) and associations (RR = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.13-0.81) were more likely to be the main source of information than their counterparts. Men had a higher probability than women of being the main source of information in news about punishment (RR = 1.42; 95% CI, 1.12-1.81). Conclusions: In a context in which mortality from violence against women remains constant, news about this subject has increased, coinciding with dramatic events and political responses. The main sources of information are politicians of both sexes, men from law institutions, and women from health institutions and associations. Men are the main source of information in news about punishment.

Keywords : Battered women; Social problems; Mass media; Journalism.

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