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Complainant Name:
A woman

Clauses Noted: 6, 7

Publication: Daily Record


A woman whose 14 year old daughter was awarded compensation by an industrial tribunal for sexual harassment complained that coverage of the case in the Daily Record identified her daughter by name against her express wishes and in breach of Clause 13 (Children in sex cases). The two pieces, headlined - "Randy boss touched up waitress, 14 " and "Boss sacks waiter for groping girl" contained details including how the girl's employer had sexually harassed her, the girl's full name and, in one article, a quote from the complainant. She said the newspaper had telephoned their home and asked to speak to her daughter about the case and she believed this represented a breach of Clause 12 (Interviewing or photographing children) of the Code of Practice.

The newspaper said that no request had been made at the hearing for identities not to be released and it had wanted to speak to the complainant's daughter in order to praise her courage in taking the case to a tribunal. When it was made clear the complainant and her daughter did not wish to comment, the reporter had made no further attempt to contact them. It regretted any distress caused.



With regard to the complaint under Clause 12, the Commission noted that the reporter had made his request to an adult family member and had made no further attempt to contact them once it was made clear they did not wish to comment. This part of the complaint was rejected.

Clause 13 states that the press should not, even where the law does not prohibit it, identify children under the age of 16 who are involved in cases concerning sexual offences, whether as victims or as witnesses or defendants. The Commission recognised how, given the rather unusual circumstances of the case, the editor may genuinely have believed he was acting within the Code, and it noted his expressed regret for any distress caused. However, it took the view that whether the matter was a criminal court case or an industrial tribunal hearing as in this instance, the potential damage to the child in such circumstances was the same.

While recognising that the editor had acted in good faith, the Commission therefore upheld the complaint.


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