Resolution Statement 02051-18 A woman v That’s Life

    • Date complaint received

      26th April 2018

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      11 Victims of sexual assault, 2 Privacy, 7 Children in sex cases

Resolution Statement 02051-18 A woman v That’s Life

Summary of complaint

1. A woman complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that That’s Life breached Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 7 (Children in sex cases) and Clause 11 (Victims of sexual assault) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article published in February 2018.

2. The complainant said that in an article reporting a woman’s account of being sexually abused as a child, the magazine had published an un-pixilated image of her face. She said that people had recognised her as a result of the article, and had identified her as a victim of sexual assault, when she had been assured anonymity.

3. The magazine did not accept any breach of the Code. It accepted that the wrong child had been pixilated in the image; however, due to the passage of time, it did not consider that the complainant was identifiable as a result. Furthermore, the article had not named the complainant or revealed any information regarding the relationship between her and the subject of the article.

Relevant Code provisions

4. Clause 2 (Privacy)

i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.

ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information.

iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Clause 7 (Children in sex cases)

The press must not, even if legally free to do so, identify children under 16 who are victims or witnesses in cases involving sex offences.

In any press report of a case involving a sexual offence against a child -

i) The child must not be identified.

ii) The adult may be identified.

iii) The word "incest" must not be used where a child victim might be identified.

iv)  Care must be taken that nothing in the report implies the relationship between the accused and the child.

Clause 11 (Victims of sexual assault)

The press must not identify or publish material likely to lead to the identification of a victim of sexual assault unless there is adequate justification and they are legally free to do so.

Mediated outcome

5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

6. While it maintained that it had not breached the Code, in order to resolve the complaint, the magazine offered to make a donation to a charity which helps to support victims of child sexual abuse.

7. The complainant accepted the magazine’s offer as a resolution to her complaint.

8. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.

Date complaint received: 27/02/2018

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 19/04/2018