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Strategic Story Telling: Guidelines for Victims, Survivors and Family Members of Mass Violence Incidents (MVIs)

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2020
4 pages

These are guidelines for victims, survivors, and family members impacted by mass violence incidents who may wish to prepare for "strategic story telling," which involves sharing one's personal experience or "story" with others in a way that is safe, meaningful, and therapeutically effective.


One of the guidelines addresses ways to share your story, such as speaking at public events, providing peer support, or attending support groups as a mentor. A second guideline lists reasons for sharing your story, such as to personalize your loss and trauma, help build relationships and establish a supportive community, and generate new possibilities for recovery from victimization effects. A third guideline pertains to the risks of sharing your story. Among the risks mentioned are increasing one's feelings of vulnerability and making listeners feel uncomfortable. Other guidelines focus on when to tell your story and how much to share; how to develop your story; what to do and not do to be effective in sharing your story; how to respond to questions from other victims; preparing for a sharing even; the development of a safety plan; reviewing your presentation after sharing it; and some other ways your story can be beneficial to yourself and others.