SCOTLAND’S women’s charities have joined together to get the public involved in their 2015 Write To End Violence Against Women Awards.

The National is supporting the awards as media partner and as part of the judging panel, and we are delighted to offer our backing to the campaign.

Zero Tolerance, Engender, White Ribbon Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid, Everyday Victim Blaming (EVB), Women 50:50 and Rape Crisis Scotland, along with the National Union of Journalists Scotland, are hosting this year’s campaign and awards aimed at celebrating what is good about Scottish media while continuing to push for change.

Zero Tolerance director Jenny Kemp (above) said: “The media has a vital role in challenging a culture which supports violence.

“Journalists, editors and other media professionals have the choice to aid public understanding of violence against women, or to fall back on stereotypes and sensationalism.

“Many journalists, bloggers and student writers produce high-quality work which confronts violence and gender inequality, and at Zero Tolerance we believe their hard work deserves to be celebrated which is why we initiated this award.”

The public are invited to submit writing for consideration through the website and the winners will be announced in December at the Scottish Parliament.

Engender said it was delighted to be part of the Write To End Violence Against Women Awards, working to highlight the importance of responsible reporting.

Emma Ritch, executive director of Engender, said: “We know that media representations of women in general, and violence against women in particular, have huge power to perpetuate damaging and dangerous myths, and help contribute to gender inequality.

“The past year has seen a raised profile of issues surrounding media sexism, with women in politics a particular focus, and so we look forward to receiving submissions of exemplary writing, as well as nominations for our wooden spoon award.”

Zero Tolerance believes irresponsible writing about violence against women is still too often a feature of media reporting. The charities, therefore, have included in their awards a Worst Article, or Wooden Spoon category.

Last year’s Wooden Spoon went to the Daily Mail for its Liz Jones article giving advice to women concerned about sexual harassment, which read: “Don’t dress like a prostitute, or be too drunk to know what you are doing, but beyond that, live your lives. Stop being victims.”

The National’s editor Richard Walker said he was honoured to be involved in the awards and helping to highlight such an important issue.

He said: “The National is delighted to support the 2015 Write To End Violence Against Women Awards as media partner and on the judging panel. We will do everything we can to help reduce violence against women.”

The organisers are also delighted to announce that there is a bursary opportunity for an aspiring writer to play a key role in helping to continue to grow the profile of the awards campaign, while raising awareness of news consumers and empowering them to take action.

The awards seek to drive up standards in journalism by rewarding those committed to furthering the cause of gender equality through their work.

It is open to all writing in Scotland, and there are categories for both paid and unpaid writing.

Violence Against Women researcher and winner of the inaugural Best Article Award, Anni Donaldson, said: “A great deal of reporting remains voyeuristic and exploitative with victims and survivors’ voices screaming to be heard above the clamour often focused on the male perpetrators and public sympathy for them.

“Critiques of coverage of the trial of Reeva Steenkamp’s killer and the Ched Evans rape case show what we are up against.”

For more information, visit the website