For Melbourne University Press to withdraw sales of “Killer Instinct”.
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The Queensland Homicide Victims’ Support Group (QHVSG) supports the request of Sonia Anderson for Melbourne University Press to withdraw all copies of the publication ‘Killer Instinct,’ and to cease any further production. The issue is such that for the first time, victim and patient advocacy organisations are working together, in response to the impact the book has had on clients they work with.
QHVSG work under the belief that our actions need to be there for the greater good. We know that in terms of healthcare, there is a fundamental need to “do no harm.”
QHVSG feels that it is unreasonable for the author to have failed to notify or receive consent from the families to use their stories.
As a health related agency, QHVSG would never discuss cases of our members without specific consent. For us to do so would be a breach of our code of conduct and also of the Australian Privacy Principles. Legalities aside, we simply know it is the wrong thing to do.
As Sonia Anderson has identified, The Melbourne University Press and Dr Grant have been made aware that the content is causing re-traumatisation for both victims’ and patients (who have been through the Mental Health Court). Despite this, the MUP refuses to withdraw the book.
Sonia Anderson (whose daughter was murdered) is a focus within this book. She has never been approached for consent.
Both Sonia and QHVSG question how this book is in any way creating good when there is re-traumatisation occurring.
We see no benefit and ask that it stops.
We are aware of a number of people who have been significantly impacted by this book, including those who were accused of the offences described in this book, and their families and supports.
In addition to victims who have been included in the publication, QHVSG has also been contacted by distressed members who are concerned that they may be mentioned in the publication. It is not isolated to those directly impacted.
There are clear examples of true crime authors and publicists who have predicted the risk to families; publishers have acted with admirable corpoarate responsibility by walking away from a publication after they realised that a victim family had not been contacted. Some have stated that if support of the victims’ families was not explicitly obtained, that the work would not continue. We applaud this mindset and ask to follow this responsible methodology.
These are examples that we feel Melbourne University Press should follow. It is the morally responsible thing to do.
This example of a true crime publication is bringing little comfort to the people actually involved in the crime. What it is doing is causing distress.
We commend those retailers who may be considering withdrawing the book from their stock. We see this as responsible corporate behaviour.
We ask consumers to consider what the impact of this book are having on families who have never been asked if it is OK to speak of them; to make the parts of their personal lives which is so sensitive just another book on the shelf.
We ask Melbourne University Press to cease their production in the interests of those people who are being negatively impacted by its release. We ask Dr Grant to understand the impact that his book has created - he is aware of the concern but has not indicated any interest in withdrawing it. We feel that this is disgraceful.
QHVSG and Sonia Anderson call on both the press and publishers to show sensitivity to both victims and accused in the media reporting of these issues.
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