This guide is divided into two parts. Part I is focused on the media and its potential impact on victims of crime, including how the media reports crime, issues of concern to victims and how victim service providers may be able to help. It cautions the reader about the potential negative implications of interacting with the media, as well as highlighting some of the benefits for individual victims and agencies. Simply put, there are both positives and negatives that victims and service providers must consider before establishing contact with media sources, whether it is a one-time interview or longer-term media strategy. Part II is geared to the service provider, and focuses on your agency and how you can work with the media to raise awareness of your services, general victimization issues and/or the profile of your organization. While service providers may not always like the way the media work or agree with how they report on crime or victim issues, the media can be instrumental in increasing the profile of your organization; helping to educate the public about victimization issues; making sure victims know about you when and if they need help or to raise funds.
This guide is meant to provide general information and advice. Your agency likely has specific policies and guidelines about which employees may deal with the media (if at all) and how to approach privacy/ethical concerns that may arise. This guide is not intended to replace any of your organization’s internal policies.
The privacy of a victim and your professional and legal responsibilities to them must be the number one consideration of any victim service provider or victim-serving agency. We must not do any harm. This guide is meant to accompany an agency’s guidelines, and act as a general information tool to assist service providers in your dealings with the victims and the media.