Reporting Femicide-Suicide in the News: The Current Utilization of Suicide Reporting Guidelines and Recommendations for the Future

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Public health officials have developed and disseminated recommendations for the responsible reporting of suicide in an effort to dispel myths about suicide-completers and minimize contagion effects. However, recommendations as to the reporting of homicide-suicide events have not been a priority in these initiatives. The current study assesses the degree to which newspaper coverage of the most commonly occurring type of homicide-suicide event, femicide-suicide, adhere to existing suicide reporting recommendations by examining newspaper coverage (n=143) of a population of femicide-suicide cases (n=83) from North Carolina for the years 2002-2009. The current study demonstrates the importance of developing and disseminating reporting guidelines to assist in dispelling myths about the victims and perpetrators of lethal intimate partner violence.