First, ask the family and friends if they want to talk about the case. If they say no, tell them you will respect their privacy and then do so. If they are willing to speak with you, select questions that offer insight into the person and not just the event.
- “Tell me about your friend (sister, daughter, mother etc.)?”
- “What was your favourite thing about her?”
- “How would people best describe her?”
- “How did you become friends?”
If possible, avoid speaking about the event. If you’re assigned by an editor to ask directly about the event, ask what kind of help they could use rather than the standard “how are you feeling?”
- “Is she receiving support?”
- “Can the community do anything to help?”
- “What kind of support does she have?”
- “Are you, as friends/family, receiving support?”
Finally, ask constructive questions about how to prevent something like this from happening again, rather than trying to find out narrow explanations of why this happened.
- “What would you say to someone going through something similar?”
- “How can we as a society stop things like this from continuing to happen?”