Dealing with the media
Crime stories make news headlines every day, so as a victim of crime you may find yourself at the centre of media attention.
You might want to share your story with the media as part of your recovery process, to help the police catch the offender, to raise awareness of crime or for fundraising purposes. But you might also find the attention of journalists intrusive and upsetting — especially as you are trying to come to terms with what has happened.
What can I do about media attention?
If you’ve been affected by a crime and you’re getting calls or visits from the media as a result, you need to think about the pros and cons of speaking to the press before you talk to them. There are systems in place to help protect you, but there are some risks that you need to be aware of. There are a number of people you can talk to about your options:
- If it's a very serious or high-profile crime, police family liaison officers will be able to give you advice on how to deal with the media.
- You can also talk to your Victim Support caseworker or to a member of the media team at Victim Support to find out more.
- If you have a lawyer involved in your case they may also be able to give you advice on dealing with journalists.
You can view the guide to these reporting restrictions on the Society of Editors website.
If you decide to go ahead with an interview, even if you think it is ‘off the record’ (when your identity, your source, or the information you’ve given should not be revealed), think very carefully about what you want to say. Once you’ve spoken to a journalist it’s usually impossible to take back what you have said. And once a journalist has reported something you’ve said, it's very hard to stop it being repeated across lots of other media.
With every type of crime, reporters have to be careful about what they report on, in case they say things that could affect the result of a trial in court. As a victim of crime, you also have to be careful about what you say publicly. For example, you might say something that a court decides would make it impossible for the accused to get a fair trial, which could lead to the case being dropped.