It is your choice if you want to speak to the media
Some crimes are reported in the media, particularly when a person dies, is badly injured or goes missing.
The police will not release the name of a victim without their consent or the consent of the next of kin, but the media may still be able to identify someone by:
- speaking to people who may have been at the scene
- searching on social media sites
- finding a death notice in a newspaper.
Media attention can add to your family’s distress by reducing your privacy and making a difficult time more stressful.
It can also have benefits such as:
- improving the accuracy of information that is published
- helping the investigation by asking people to come forward with information
- raising public awareness and helping other victims by sharing your thoughts and feelings about the type of crime involved.
What if I choose not to speak to the media?
You can choose not to deal with the media at all, but this will not stop the media:
- talking to other people about your loved one
- reporting about the crime.
It may mean that you lose your say about what is published and, in some cases, the media may continue to approach you to ask for information.
Providing photographs to the media
One of the things the media will often ask for when reporting on a case is a photograph of the victim. You do not have to give the media a photograph, but that will not stop them using photographs found elsewhere, such as on social media. You may wish to provide a photograph you would prefer them to use.
Are there things I cannot say to the media?
In some cases, police may ask that certain details are not shared with the public so that the investigation is not affected. If you are considering talking to the media, talk to your police contact who can discuss this with you.
During a court case, there are rules about what witnesses can say to the media. This is to make sure the case can go ahead. If you are a witness, the police or Office of Public Prosecutions can explain what you need to do.
How can I get help?
Developing a plan and deciding early on what you are comfortable with sharing will help you avoid upsetting or intrusive media situations.
Victoria Police have a media guide for families and friends (External link) that you can read to help you decide how you would like to handle media requests.
The police can help you develop your plan for dealing with the media and advise on options.