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Communities: Guidelines for Facilitating Victims, Survivors, and Family Members in Sharing their Stories

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2019
3 pages

This instructional material provided by the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center is intended for community agencies interested in providing guidance to persons victimized by a mass violence incident ("survivors") who want to share their stories with others.


Although such outreach can be empowering and therapeutic for survivors of a mass victimization, it can be harmful without appropriate guidance and support. The current material assists community service agencies in inviting, preparing, and supporting survivors who want to share their stories. First, scenarios for survivors to share their stories are listed, including speaking at public events, providing peer support, and attending support groups as a mentor. This is followed by suggestions for preparation needed before asking survivors to become involved in sharing their stories. This is followed by guidance for preparing survivors to share their stories for various types of events. Also, victim service organizations are often contacted by community service groups, requesting survivors to share their stories at a particular event. Guidelines are provided for the selection of survivors to share their stories at various events. Other sections of this guide address the preparation of a survivor for an event; the coordination of social support for the survivor; and establishing boundaries for the survivor, media, audience, and event planners.