Gavin Rees: How to Interview Victims of Trauma

Posted on

Gavin Rees from Dart Center Europe has held a session named Dealing with Victims of Trauma explaining how to ask questions and get details without opening new wounds for victims of war, violence and crime.

Rees has pointed at skills journalists need to know in order to interview those affected by trauma.
Four skill areas a journalist has to develop, according to Rees, are:
1. Listening
2. Beginning well and ending well
3. Simple questions, without feelings
4. Journalist need to know their role. Journalists are not therapists and are not there to cure the interviewees 
The BIRN school’s participants went out form the session under strong impression.
Frederique Petit form The Netherlands finds the way Gavin had been communicated with victims in the movie he has shown very impressive.
“The way he communicated with the victims and what he told us on how you should lead victims up to a point where they would tell you their horrible stories and also get them back to a normal place, where you can part normally without having upset them too much,” Frederique said.
Vladimir Locev from Macedonia has admitted that he had no such experience but “it was very, very useful to watch his movie about Hiroshima and victims of nuclear bomb. It was amazing,” he said.  
“I think it takes a lot of time, a lot of experience until one journalist reaches that level to be able to retrieve and to get information from people who had those kind of … like rape victims, trafficking victims, the Macedonian journalist added. 
Vlad Ursulean from Romania: “It really thought me how to shut up and, in an interview, listen first and try to work out from there. And, not to push people that have been through trauma or traumatic events. Make them comfortable to say things… saying things that they want.” 
Bogdan Vacusta from Romania finds the presentation of Gavin as very useful. “His experience in Japan, that he told us about, was very good in terms of understanding that we have to develop the skills to do this kind of interview, because it is not a usual interview. We have to deal with some individuals who dealt with some very uncomfortable situations,” Bogdan said. “It was very surprising for me to see that even his presentation was something like talking to the victims that had difficult experience,” he added.