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Victims of Crime and the Media: Victim Support Policy Paper

NCJ Number
Date Published
13 pages
Media coverage of crime victims, families of murder victims, and crime witnesses in the United Kingdom is examined, with emphasis on the nature of media mistreatment of crime victims, current legislation and codes of practice, and recommended improvements.
Surveys and other analyses have revealed that most families of murder victims do not have positive experiences with the media. Problems include inaccurate and misleading reporting, invasion of privacy, harassment, and sensational and insensitive reporting. Several regulating organizations and codes of practice cover media standards and behavior. No single organization has an overview of all media. Police agencies have their own codes regarding victims and the media. Some agencies pass on names and addresses only with the victim's consent; others pass on all information. Some assist victims and relatives with media attention; others lack the resources to offer much assistance. Recommended improvements include withholding names and addresses or photographs or victims or relatives bereaved by violent crime unless they have consented to publicity. In addition, broadcasters and publishers who seek to retell cases from the past should first obtain permission from victims or bereaved relatives. Moreover, journalists should handle relatives and victims with respect. Furthermore, proposals in the Broadcasting Bill and the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Bill deserve support. Finally, the police should endeavor to ensure appropriate media coverage and should offer assistance to witnesses, bereaved relatives, and victims. Additional recommendations