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For Journalists

These guides aims to help reporters, copywriters, headline writers, and editors with coverage of sexual and domestic violence. 

Domestic Violence Homicide Media Guide: The media has increasingly gotten out the message that domestic violence is a crime and that help is available for victims. It's essential that these cases are portrayed in context and not only as individual tragedies. Much of the guide is also applicable to general coverage of sexual and domestic violence, stalking, and other forms of abuse.

Strangulation vs. Choking Media Guide:  The difference between the terms strangulation and choking is not semantic as each connotes very different things regarding intent and action. Using appropriate terminology in describing the act of strangulation helps readers (victims, responders, and others) understand this dangerous act of violence.

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JDI would like to acknowledge the input of journalists, law enforcement, advocates, and survivors in drafting this resource.

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"We need to wake people up to the attitudes and actions that continue to keep victims at risk and our cities, towns and cultural communities unsafe." ~ Paulo Pinto, MPA, Executive Director, MAPS - Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers

Domestic Violence Homicides in Massachusetts

The bottom line is that we believe—in fact we know—that domestic violence homicides are predictable, and, therefore, are preventable. This bold statement has driven much of JDI’s work over the past six years to address the ways that our systems, services, policies, and practices can help keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable.

For many years, JDI collected the names and accounts of victims of domestic violence homicide in Massachusetts.  In 2005 JDI embarked on what has become a central issue for the Coalition: the prevention of domestic violence homicides. You can read more about our efforts in the Works in Progress section. You can also read our latest "Blueprint to Prevent Domestic Violence Homicides."

JDI identifies cases of domestic violence homicide in Massachusetts through a combination of media reports, information from our members, and notification by the district attorneys offices. 

JDI considers homicides to be domestic violence-related if any of the following conditions are present:

  • The homicide victim and perpetrator were former spouses or intimate partners, adults or teens with a child in common, or adults or teens in a current or former dating relationship;
  • The homicide victim was a bystander or intervened in an attempted domestic violence homicide and was killed (including friends, family members, new intimate partners, law enforcement officers or other professionals attempting to assist the victim of domestic violence, roommates and co-workers);
  • The motive for the murder was reported to have included jealousy, in the context of an intimate partner or dating relationship;
  • A relationship existed between the homicide perpetrator and adult or teen victim that could be defined as exhibiting a pattern of power and control (including family or household members and caregivers).

Massachusetts Domestic Violence Homicide

Massachusetts Domestic Violence Homicide Reports

2003 Massachusetts Domestic Violence Homicide Report

Authored by Jane Doe Inc., in collaboration with Dr. Mary Gilfus, Simmons School of Social Work and Diane Rosenfeld, J.D., LLM, Harvard Law School
Published December 2006

Media Coverage of Domestic Violence Homicide

Media Guide: Reporting on Domestic Violence Related Homicides


 


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