“No-one who has cause to grieve should have to do so alone”
“One example that really sticks in my mind is the first homicide victim I ever worked with, who for the first 6-8 hours after the homicide had occurred was in such a terrible state that she didn’t want to know her family and didn’t want their support, she was in such a bad place that she didn’t think her family would want to know her. After 8 hours of sitting with that lady, gently reminding her regularly that she had family that loved her and wanted to come and support her, she turned to me and asked if I could ring her sister back and ask her to come back to the station. I in turn suggested that perhaps she might like to make that call, which she did, her sister arrived and we left knowing that she had the support she needed at that point in time.
The hardest thing I think is being able to read the situation and know when it’s the right time to back away, sometimes its crystal clear other times it’s a case of having faith in yourself to know that you have done all that you can, and the victim has the support they need.”
“I made a call out to a home. When I introduced myself as Victim Support and the victim burst into tears sobbing very heavily. On arrival I had found her sitting in dark with her 18 month baby. She said she was terrified that the offender(s) would return and harm her and the baby. The offender had gone through her personal items. I checked immediate security around the house for reassurance.
After talking with her she said she felt much calmer. I spoke with her about securing her house and to get Housing NZ to install security windows. The curtains were not closing so I helped her adjust the curtains so they would close for security.
I followed up with HNZ and WINZ for financial assistance. HNZ checked the house for security.
The victim decided after the incident that she did not want to stay at the house and was worried about her and baby’s safety. She decided to move to Christchurch to be with her partner. I referred her to counselling and advocated through with HNZ and WINZ. WINZ will support her with transfer to Christchurch.”
(Newspaper report quoting Victim Support Support Worker)
“So what do you say to the broken hearted? Sometimes you don’t say anything. “I’ve had a situation where I attended the sudden death of a woman. The husband was waiting for the family to arrive from Auckland and I was at the house for probably four hours before they came. He was in shock. There was a time in that four-hour period where for 45 minutes neither of us spoke. I asked him if he was all right. He said ‘I want you to stay I don’t want to be by myself.’ I say to victims ‘you will get through this. It’s going to take time, it’s going to be hard but you will get through this’...”
“Police referred a family to us who had reported a missing person. The Contact Service passed it on to us and did a great job of liaison throughout the night. We met the family – they were visitors from out of town – at the station at about midnight and eventually we organised accommodation for them. At about 7.00am we were called back as the Police had found a body on the beach – a drowning. This was a family from Samoa so we were able to match them with a support worker. We had three volunteers at the notification who were able to help with answering questions about the process. We helped sort accommodation for the next night. The thing I remember most was how well the three volunteers worked – even though they were all relatively new. I remember the partner of the man who died calling them ‘her three angels’.”
“We’ve got a couple of volunteers who are also Maori Wardens. I remember we had a Maori whanau – new to town - and they had a sudden death. They didn’t know anyone else in town. The volunteers met them at the mortuary. They also went with them to the funeral home and helped dress the deceased and sort arrangements to have the deceased travel back up north. They worked from 4pm to 4am the next morning – the last thing they did was see the whanau off as they were driving out of town.”