Every three days in the UK, a woman is murdered by her partner or ex-partner.
Every article on fatal domestic abuse is an opportunity to save lives. Responsible reporting improves public understanding of coercive control, brings justice to families and helps victims access support.
Level Up have produced the UK’s first media guidelines on how to report fatal domestic abuse, which are endorsed by IPSO and IMPRESS. The guidelines encourage journalists to follow the acronym AIDA:
Accountability: Place responsibility solely on the killer, which means avoiding speculative “reasons” or “triggers”, or describing the murder as an uncharacteristic event. Homicides are usually underpinned by a longstanding sense of ownership, coercive control and possessive behaviours: they are not a random event.
Images: Centre the image of the victim. Don’t use composite images of the victim placed next to the perpetrator. Use the photo provided by the victim’s family or police.
Dignity: Avoid sensationalising language, invasive or graphic details that compromise the dignity of the dead woman or her surviving family members.