Proof of life: notes & template

Updated:April 2016

Preparing a Proof of Life Document could save your life if you are kidnapped or abducted as a freelancer.

A Proof of Life is a document that contains confidential information that can be used to confirm whether a person is still alive in case of kidnapping, abduction or detention.

It can also be used to detail how that person would like their family members to be informed and / or if they have any special requirements, should something happen to them.

Even if there is a low risk of kidnapping, you should still prepare a Proof of Life document. The person intrusted with this document (usually your Key Contact) will be responsible for communicating information with a lot of different people in the eventuality that you're being held against your will. Giving them this information before you go on assignment will help them respond quickly and confidently, should something happen, and also help those who are trying to get you to safety.

Special thanks to James Brabazon and Frank Smyth for their contributions to this Risk Assessment resource. 

Image credit: Nader El-Gadi

Go to the next page: How to be an ethical journalist

Created: December 2015

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