The UK press regulator said it’s OK that a sexual assault victim may have been identifiable in a news report about events that took place 20 years ago.
The UK has strict guidelines that generally prevent the identification of sexual assault victims unless they come forward.
But in this case, the regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, ruled it was OK because the article in question didn’t actually identify the sexual assault victim and wasn’t likely to.
iMediaEthics has written to the Lancashire Telegraph, which is based about an hour northeast of Liverpool
The woman in question complained to IPSO over an article in the Lancashire Telegraph in 2019 that reported on someone being sentenced for sex offenses against minors 20 years ago. It identified where and when the offences occurred and the street of the defendant and quoted from the woman’s anonymous victim statement.
The woman then complained because she said that information reported was enough for neighbors to figure out she was a victim.
However the Lancashire Telegraph defended its reporting as in the public interest and open justice. IPSO agreed that the information was relevant and didn’t think there was enough information to identify her, even though her neighbors did.
IPSO “considered that the details contained in the article, including the details contained within her statement, could apply to a relatively broad class of individuals, and so it was reasonable to find that reporting these details was not likely to lead to her identification as a victim of sexual assault.”
Hat Tip: Hold the Front Page