Victim Media Advocacy:
How to Facilitate Sensitive and Respectful Treatment of Crime Victims
Victim advocates and the news media share a common goal of educating the American public about crime and victimization and its impact on individuals and communities. Reliable and trusting relationships among crime victims, victim service providers, and the media can help reach this goal and ensure that crime victims and survivors are treated with dignity and respect by the news media.
Victim assistance organizations and the news media often rely on “the power of the personal story” of crime victims and survivors to relay the often devastating impact that crime has on their lives. When crime victims are provided with guidance and resources to help them speak out, they can become passionate, articulate spokespersons to address victims’ needs, rights, and concerns.
There are two initial components to this series:
A Media Guide for Victim Service Providers features two sections. Section I addresses how victim advocates can facilitate sensitive and respectful treatment of crime victims by the news media, effectively advocate for victims in the media, and serve as their liaisons to media professionals. Section II is designed to help victim assistance organizations build positive relations with the news media. This guide is coauthored by Anne Seymour and Bonnie Bucqueroux.
A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims can help journalists fulfill their unique role in helping people understand and work to improve the ways in which the United States deals with crime and victimization. This guide is also designed to provide the most current, complete, and specific information and advice on reporting on victims and witnesses, as well as their families and friends. In addition, it is intended to explain the role of victim advocates and service providers and explore ways that journalists can work with them effectively to serve the needs of victims in the context of promoting public safety. This guide was written by Bonnie Bucqueroux with support from Anne Seymour.
This document was prepared by Justice Solutions under grant number 2002-VF-GX-K013, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Can strongly influence public opinion about issues important to American society.
- Provide a continuing venue to publicize important information about crime and victimization.
- Play a key role in identifying critical issues related to individual, community, and overall public safety.
- Offer opportunities for crime victims and advocates to be both proactive and reactive sources on coverage of crime and victimization.
- Help victims and survivors who choose to tell their stories to relate the events effectively, which can promote their recovery.