As a victim or witness of crime, or if a loved one has died as a result of a violent act, you might find yourself at the centre of media attention.
You may find this upsetting, or you may wish to speak to the media to help you move forward after crime, raise awareness of crime or to help fundraise for a worthy cause.
Think about the pros and cons of speaking to the media before you engage with them. You could discuss your options with a number of people, including: your Victim Support caseworker, or a member of the Victim Support media team; if you have one, the lawyer involved with your case; or if it’s a high-profile crime, you may be assigned a police family liaison officer who can advise you.
If you decide to speak to the media, think carefully about what you want to say. Once a journalist has reported something it’s virtually impossible to take back what you’ve said, and it’s hard to stop it being repeated across many other media outlets.
Also, be cautious of saying anything regarding the investigation that could affect the result of a trial, or make it impossible for the defendant to get a fair trial (which could result in the case being dropped).
Speaking to the media can have a positive effect. It may raise awareness of the crime, or help the police to get evidence or find the person who committed the offence. As a victim, you may find it helps you feel better about the crime or gives you the opportunity to thank people who’ve helped you.
Just be aware that it can be difficult to regain your privacy once you’ve spoken to the press. If you do choose to speak to the media, make sure it is on your terms and you are certain you want to go ahead.
If media attention becomes too intrusive to cope with, particularly after high-profile crimes, there are organisations who can help.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation is an independent regulator of most of the UK’s newspapers and magazines. You can contact them to report harassment by print journalists, or make a complaint after media coverage has appeared.
If you receive unwanted attention from a radio or TV broadcaster, you can complain to the broadcaster directly. You can also report it to Ofcom (a government-funded body), which deals with complaints about broadcast media and UK-based websites.