LifeWire and Domestic Violence
LifeWire Communications & Events Specialist
425-562-8840 ext. 249
Writing about domestic violence (DV)
Historically, media coverage of domestic violence has perpetuated myths and present a false impression of what happened. Pitfalls to avoid include victim-blaming, excusing an abuser’s behavior, claiming an abusive incident came from out of the blue, and not labeling DV murders as such.
Journalists and other writers can help change the narrative by:
- focusing on an abuser’s actions rather than a victim’s behavior
- explicity contextualize crimes or events by naming violence as DV
- acknowledging that DV is not a private matter, it impacts our communities and businesses
- conveying that DV is a pattern of abusive behavior that often escalates when a survivor is trying to leave or has left a relationship
In 2008, the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence put together a media guide for writing about DV. While the data and some of the language may be outdated, it still offers a good starting place for accurately covering domestic violence crimes.