Sexual offences guidance

This guidance provides editors and journalists with a framework for thinking through important questions related to the reporting of sexual offences and  examples of relevant decisions by IPSO’s Complaints Committee.

Please note this guidance was updated 12th July 2023.


Relevant Clauses

Clause 1 - Accuracy
Clause 2 - Privacy
Clause 4 - Intrusion into grief or shock
Clause 6 - Children
Clause 7 - Children in sex cases
Clause 11 - Victims of sexual assault

Link to Editors' Code

External resources

Other organisations offer guidance on reporting sexual offences that you may wish to consult:

Heard – A Different Take on Sexual and Domestic Abuse is an On Road Media project that brings media influencers together with people with experience of sexual violence and domestic abuse, and/or who work in the sector, promoting new content and a better understanding of the issues.

Resources or phone 020 3559 6764

Rape Crisis England & Wales is the umbrella body for a network of Rape Crisis Centres in England and Wales. These are women-led and offer support, advocacy, counselling and information in a women-only safe space. Some provide separate space for male sexual violence survivors

Get informed | Rape Crisis England & Wales  

SurvivorsUK is a UK organisation supporting men who have experienced both childhood sexual abuse and adult sexual assault/rape. They are an inclusive service and welcome anyone who identifies as male, trans, non-binary, has identified as male in the past, or anyone who feels that they are the right fit for them. or phone 020 3598 3898

The Survivors Trust is a UK-wide national umbrella agency for 130 specialist organisations which provide support for the impact of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse throughout the UK and Ireland. or phone 01788 550554

Media enquiries | The Survivors Trust 


Further support

The IPSO podcast has an episode covering sexual offences:

The IPSO blog also covers the reporting of sexual offences:

IPSO Blog: Reporting sexual offences The importance of encouraging conversations about sexual violence and our new guidance and public information can support journalists and survivors.