BACKGROUND:How the mainstream news media report violence against women is significant if levels of violence are to be reduced and ultimately eliminated. Media reporting is an important indicator through which to measure progress towards shifting social and cultural norms that reinforce or challenge the place of violence against women in our society. The current study, therefore, aimed to establish a baseline picture of the extent and nature of reporting of violence against women by the mainstream Australian news media. METHODS:Descriptive and content analysis of media reports on violence against women that were collected over four months in three states of Australia. Reports were from newspapers, broadcast (television and radio) and online news sites. RESULTS:Coverage of violence against women in the mainstream news media was extensive. Explicitly situating violent experiences for women within a broader social context was infrequent. Few news reports included information for women on where to seek help. Additionally, news reports rarely elevated the voices of survivors, advocates and other experts, with a disproportionate emphasis on law enforcement, political and criminal justice perspectives. CONCLUSIONS:Despite readiness among journalists and readers to engage in news about violence against women, reporting that promotes public understanding of the issue is not always the norm.