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Privacy & Dignity: A Guide to Interacting With the Media

NCJ Number
Date Published
26 pages

This guide addresses the importance of and ways of protecting the privacy and dignity of survivors of homicides in the media's coverage of the crime, with guidance provided for media personnel and victim advocates, as well as the homicide victim's surviving family members and friends.


The concept of "privacy" as used in this guide refers to the protection of homicide survivors from exploitation and additional trauma that may accompany interaction with the media. Regarding the term "dignity," this involves victims making informed choices in interactions with the media that serve victim needs and benefit their healing from the adverse consequences of their victimization. Guidance for "victim advocates" pertains to anyone who provides services to crime victims. References to the media encompass professional journalists and social media, which provide a context for communications about the crime and victim reactions to it. The material in this guide is divided into a section of guidance for victims, a section with guidance for victim advocates, and a section for "journalists," which refers to media professionals, and private individuals who make comments for public consumption on social media. The guide's section for victims addresses factors involved in the decision to be interviewed by the media, points to consider in appearing on a talk show or podcast recording session, and issues in social media coverage. The section on victim advocates provides suggestions for how to guide victims in their decisions on interacting with the media. The guide's section for journalists outlines victim rights that should be respected by the media and the nature of potential victim harmful effects from certain media interview techniques.