Mar 29, 2023

The Synergy Between Ethical True Crime and Victim-Centered True Crime

In the evolving landscape of true crime storytelling, two prominent approaches have emerged that aim to reshape the genre and foster more responsible, respectful narratives: ethical true crime and victim-centered true crime. While distinct in their focus, these approaches are intricately connected, sharing common values and principles that prioritize the well-being of victims, survivors, and ethical storytelling. In this blog post, we’ll explore the connection between ethical true crime and victim-centered true crime, highlighting how they work in tandem to create a more empathetic and informative portrayal of criminal cases.

Defining ethical true crime and victim-centered true crime

Ethical True Crime: Ethical true crime refers to a conscientious and respectful approach to crafting and consuming true crime content. It upholds principles such as accuracy, empathy, transparency, and sensitivity, with a keen awareness of the potential impact that storytelling can have on individuals involved in criminal cases. Ethical true crime seeks to tell stories responsibly while promoting meaningful discussions and education.

Victim-Centered True Crime: Victim-centered true crime places victims and survivors at the forefront of the narrative. It aims to humanize these individuals, focusing on their experiences, perspectives, and journeys. This approach seeks to empower victims by giving them agency over their own stories and creating a more comprehensive understanding of the emotional and psychological toll of crime.

Shared values and objectives between ethical and victim-centered true crime

Empathy and respect

Both ethical true crime and victim-centered true crime prioritize empathy and respect for victims, survivors, and their families. Ethical storytelling acknowledges the pain and trauma they have experienced and seeks to portray their stories with dignity. Victim-centered true crime, by design, centers on these individuals’ experiences, allowing their voices to be heard and their stories to be shared in their own words.

Humanization of victims

Both approaches contribute to humanizing victims and survivors. Ethical true crime emphasizes their humanity by presenting accurate, balanced portrayals that move beyond sensationalism. Victim-centered true crime, on the other hand, directly amplifies their voices, experiences, and emotions, helping audiences connect on a deeper level.

Transparency and accountability

Ethical true crime and victim-centered true crime require transparency from creators. Ethical storytelling demands openness about research methods and sources, while victim-centered true crime involves obtaining consent and respecting the wishes of victims when sharing their stories. This transparency underscores the commitment to ethical practices and responsible storytelling.

Balanced perspective

Both approaches strive for a balanced perspective that goes beyond the immediate crime. Ethical true crime explores the contextual factors surrounding the case, contributing to a more nuanced understanding. Victim-centered true crime illuminates the aftermath of the crime, depicting the resilience, strength, and challenges faced by victims in the wake of tragedy.

Awareness and education

Both ethical true crime and victim-centered true crime aim to educate audiences. Ethical storytelling sparks discussions about systemic issues, legal processes, and societal implications of crime. Victim-centered true crime educates by shedding light on the emotional and psychological toll of crime, promoting awareness and empathy.

Meaningful engagement

Both approaches encourage meaningful engagement with the subject matter. Ethical true crime prompts critical thinking and discussions about ethics, while victim-centered true crime encourages empathy, compassion, and a deeper connection with the human experiences behind the headlines.

The power of collaboration

The connection between ethical true crime and victim-centered true crime reveals the potential for collaboration and mutual reinforcement. Creators who adopt ethical principles are more likely to naturally embrace victim-centered storytelling, as ethical practices inherently involve prioritizing the voices and well-being of victims and survivors. Similarly, victim-centered true crime creators benefit from ethical considerations by ensuring that their storytelling maintains accuracy, sensitivity, and respect for all parties involved.


Ethical true crime and victim-centered true crime are two sides of the same coin, interconnected by shared values and objectives that prioritize responsible storytelling and the well-being of victims, survivors, and their families. By embracing the principles of empathy, respect, transparency, and education, both approaches contribute to a more compassionate and informed narrative landscape. As these two approaches continue to gain traction, they collectively contribute to reshaping the true crime genre into a space that fosters empathy, understanding, and a greater appreciation for the human stories that lie behind criminal cases.

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