Speaking to HBA Survivors: Making Contact
Be aware of the risks – if you plan to contact an individual who is a survivor or person at risk of HBA or harmful practices, be aware that their social media, emails, messages and even phone calls may be monitored by their perpetrators and any communication with media may have serious and even fatal repercussions. Similarly, understand that the common media practice of reaching out to relatives, neighbours, and places of work to contact a potential interviewee may mean you are reaching out to a potential perpetrator and putting them at risk. For this reason, we advise the media to make approaches to potential interviewees via relevant charities/organisations supporting people at risk of HBA and harmful practices wherever possible
Be sensitive and provide options – if you do make a direct approach, be aware that it may be the first time they have spoken to the media, which can be daunting and frightening. Ask if they are supported by an organisation and offer to speak to an appointed contact if preferred. If not, work with them to find the best way for them to be supported during and after the interview.
Be clear in your request – when requesting an interview via an organisation like Savera UK, identify yourself immediately as a member of the press, stating the title/outlet you are representing, who you would like to speak to and what you would like to speak about.
Don’t interview for speculative approaches – speaking about personal experience of HBA and harmful practices can be re-traumatising. If you do not have a confirmed commission, make this clear so we can work with you to source relevant information for your pitch. Savera UK, like other organisations, holds case study information and can speak directly to survivors for the purpose of supporting media pitches. Once a commission is confirmed an interview can then be arranged.
Consider alternative interview options – it will not always be safe or possible for survivors of HBA and harmful practices to be interviewed directly by journalists. While we understand this is not preferred, alternatives can be arranged through the organisations that support survivors. Consider allowing survivors to respond to questions via email or share your questions with the organisation so they can interview them for you and follow up with any additional queries.