Victims of crime 'are harassed by media'

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MANY victims of crime suffer additional trauma because of harassment and inaccurate and intrusive reporting by some sections of the media, according to a report published yesterday.

Victim Support, the charity that helps crime victims, calls for measures to protect such people from the media - including a ban on publishing the names, addresses and photographs of victims without their consent.

The report, prepared for Sir David Calcutt's review of the self regulation of the press and the House of Commons Heritage Select Committee's inquiry into privacy and media intrusion, says recovery can be delayed by certain types of reporting.

The report says the names and photographs of victims should be published only where consent is given or where they are public figures whose position gives the crime 'public importance'.

It says that no other detailed information that could lead to indentification should be published.

It notes that some local newspapers already adopt the practice of referring to victims as 'a secretary, 23,' or 'a pensioner, 74' without loss of circulation or complaints.

Other recommendations include special training for journalists on the sensitive treatment of victims of crimes and disasters and that families should be consulted before cases are published or broadcast as 'true crime' stories.