Lauren Novak and Sheradyn Holderhead from the Sunday Mail and The Advertiser have been named the winners of the 2016 Our Watch Gold Award for their campaign “Knowing what we’re up against”.

The project combined shoe-leather reporting, Freedom of Information requests and lobbying to reveal, for the first time, key government data on the extent of domestic violence in South Australia.

Our Watch judges said: “The ‘Knowing what we’re up against’ campaign demonstrated a clear objective — to know the extent of the issue of family violence so as to stop it.

“The work was incisive, insightful, challenged stereotypes, and forced real change by exposing systemic failures that endanger women and families at risk. A truly commendable effort.”

Our Watch Chair Natasha Stott Despoja said “The high quality of entries to the 2016 Our Watch Awards highlight growing interest in providing accurate and responsible reporting on violence against women. The media have great influence as well as responsibility when reporting on violence against women. Our Watch seeks to reward this when it is done well.

“This year’s Our Watch awards entries recognise exemplary reporting. Since the inaugural Our Watch Awards last year, there have been more media reports about violence against women as well as more in-depth reporting.

“We have seen recognition of the disadvantages that exacerbate violence against women. This includes women with disabilities, indigenous women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

“We have also seen an important focus on the perspectives of women who experience violence. This is reflected in powerful individual stories told in the stories we honour tonight.

“We have seen bystander action increase, including among the media. This includes exposing attitudes and behaviour that normalise and excuse this violence.

“I congratulate the finalists and winners. They deserve acknowledgment for their commitment to ending the scourge of violence against women and their children,” she said.

Winners, in category order, are:

Best use of social media

All Media: Best news coverage

  • Belinda Hawkins, Stephen Baras-Miller and Mark Farnell, Australian Story, ABC TV,

The Minister’s Secret

All Media: Best series or special

All Media: Best local/community journalism

All Media: Best longform

  • Sarah Ferguson, Nial Fulton, Ivan O’Mahoney, Kylie Grey and Philippa Rowlands, ABC TV, “Hitting Home

All Media: Best journalism campaign 

See the full list of finalists for the 2016 awards here.

For more information on Our Watch and resources for journalists, visit