Prioritise your safety to avoid the possibility of further harm. Choose a safe place to go to and trusted people to be with.
After traumatic events, it's normal to find that you feel more anxious about your safety and others' safety too. Remember, you're not alone - our Support Workers and other community organisations are here to help you to work out the next steps you can take. We want everyone who has experienced a crime or traumatic event to feel safe and supported.
It's important to prioritise your safety. After traumatic events, it's normal to find that you feel more anxious about your safety and others' safety too. Remember, you're not alone - our Support Workers and other community organisations are here to help you to work out the next steps you can take. We want everyone who has experienced a crime or traumatic event to feel safe and supported.
If you or others have been injured, see a doctor, go to a hospital emergency department or call an ambulance on 111 regardless of whether you decide to report the incident or not.
A professional medical assessment can help your recovery and ensure physical safety.
Depending on the incident, consider having the doctor prepare a medical report that can be shared with police, if you are comfortable doing that.
We provide 24/7 free, confidential emotional and practical support and information to anyone affected by crime, suicide and traumatic events, including their whānau and witnesses. We are here for you in your time of crisis to help you feel empowered, make choices and access the services you need to feel safe and in control. We are here for you if you choose to report a crime and even if you don’t.
You can call us or visit our How we can help page to find out more about who we are, how we can help you and how to access our support.
If you have insurance, make an insurance claim as soon as you can. Your insurance company will explain what you need to do next. It may be making a list of missing or damaged items, keeping any damaged items in case they need to be assessed by the insurer or keeping receipts for the expenses resulting from the incident.
It’s common for insurance companies to investigate this kind of claim. You can help them by remembering and noting down as much as you can about any events leading up to or during the incident.
If you don't have insurance, it can take more time to get back on your feet, but support is available to help you cope through what’s happened.
Most people find that unexpectedly witnessing a crime or traumatic incident or discovering the aftermath is disturbing and distressing. Even if you weren’t physically harmed you may still be psychologically affected by what you have seen or heard.
Witnesses often experience a wide range of strong reactions including shock and disbelief, fear, horror, helplessness, anger or grief. You may be overwhelmed or perhaps numb and unable to feel anything at first. You may find you're asking yourself if you could have prevented it, done something different, or helped. You may replay the events in your mind and find it hard to stop distressing thoughts and images. It is common to feel guilty that you witnessed or discovered something so major in someone else’s life and that you were physically unharmed.
It is important to recognise that just because you weren’t directly involved, it doesn’t mean you won’t be affected by what happened. We are here for you if you need support.
For many, a ceremonial blessing of the site where a person has died is an essential part of processing the loss. It acknowledges of the spiritual impact of the tragedy and protects and guides the spirit of the deceased. It respects and honours the dignity of the deceased person, their family, whānau, and community.
For Māori, it can include lifting of the tapu on the site and karakia. Other cultural and faith groups have their own unique blessing ceremonies. Some family or whānau members may choose to visit the scene and be part of a blessing ceremony and others may not. They may prefer to hold a private blessing or open it to whomever would like to come, including from the community.
If you are an immediate family or whānau member wishing to organise a blessing for the site, you could contact your kaumātua, local marae, church or faith centre, the police officer who has been working with you, a Police Iwi Liaison Officer, or speak to a Support Worker.
If you don't personally know the family or whānau but witnessed or discovered the incident, you can speak to a Support Worker if you'd like to attend a blessing, provided it is open to the public and the family or whānau are comfortable with that.
Call the police non-emergency number on 105
Fill in a New Zealand Police 105 report
Find your local police station - Talk to the person at the front counter and they will advise you about what to do. If your nearest station is a small or rural station, call 105 to make sure someone is there to help you. You may want to take a trusted person with you for support.
You may consider speaking to someone you trust for advice like a family or whānau member, close friend, community or cultural leader, or your Victim Support Worker.
You can anonymously report the incident by phone or by submitting an online form to Crime Stoppers.
Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support
Call us 24/7 on 0800 842 846 to be connected to a Support Worker for assistance.
Support through the criminal justice system
Look in this directory to find a New Zealand lawyer
If you are experiencing family violence and harm, consider making a safety plan. This is a plan of future actions you can take to keep you and your family and whānau members safe if you feel threatened or are in immediate danger. Everyone’s situation is different; Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support and other local support services can help you to prepare an individual plan that works for you, when the time is right.
Reporting what happened to police as soon as possible can keep you or others from experiencing further harm but you can still report a crime to police regardless of how long ago it happened.
Support is here for you when things get tough. You don't have to face it alone. Reach out to these confidential and non-judgmental services to discuss your situation and get the help you need.
A drowning death happens quickly, often within seconds, and can occur offshore, at the beach, in rivers, lakes, pools, or in a natural disaster. Multiple individuals may drown, sometimes from within the same family or group of friends and in some cases it can involve individuals tragically drowning themselves while attempting to save someone else's life.
It is sudden, unexpected, and traumatic for family, whānau, and the community where it occurred, and can be shocking for those who witness it or try to resuscitate or rescue the person.
The search for a missing person's body, which may never be found despite extensive efforts by rescue and dive recovery teams, adds to loved ones' distress. Survivors of such incidents often grapple with intense guilt, feeling they could have done more to prevent the tragedy or struggling with survivor's guilt, making coping and understanding the situation challenging.
The impact of a sudden drowning death is very painful. You don’t have to cope alone, support is available for you.
A drowning death will first be responded to by those at the location, surf lifesavers if the location is at a public pool or beach, and then by emergency services. In some circumstances, specialist search and rescue teams may also be involved in recovering the person’s body. Sometimes family, whānau, friends, and community members may want to be part of the search and police can advise how best they can assist with this.
When a body has not been recovered, the uncertainty and longing for answers can be overwhelming. The stress and anxiety of waiting and wondering where you loved one is can feel unbearable. Media attention on the missing person's case can add to the pressure and stress for the family.
To cope, those who have been through this difficult situation recommend maintaining hope, reaching out to others for support, prioritising your physical and emotional well-being, and establishing a routine and staying busy, especially if you have children.
To investigate, police must ask questions and will speak to any witnesses and those who discovered the death. They are also likely to speak with close family, whānau, and friends of the person who died. After a traumatic experience, people’s memories can sometimes be a bit foggy or uncertain. Things that happened can seem like a blur. Take your time and do your best to tell the police everything you can remember about the incident.
The police may need to conduct a forensic investigation of the site. In this situation, you may need to find other accommodation during this time, which a Support Worker can help you find.
If you’re renting, let your landlord/landlady, or housing agency know as soon as possible that you are unable to return to the property. You can also ask a trusted support person to contact them on your behalf.
Following a drowning incident in the sea, river, or lake, local Māori iwi may place a rāhui on the area to restrict access to the site where it occurred. Police collaborate with iwi who facilitate this customary practice.
A rāhui respects the person who has died and their family or whānau. It is established and lifted through the karakia of iwi elders and tikanga leaders/tohunga and is enforced by the respectful understanding and acceptance of the surrounding community. The area can also be marked with a signpost/pou rāhui for the public.
The rāhui will be set for a certain number of days before being lifted. If you have any questions, you can contact your local police who can seek advice from a Police Iwi Liaison Officer.
When someone dies in an accident, ACC can provide a range of financial support to the family or whānau of the deceased. This may include helping to pay for the funeral and providing some ongoing financial assistance.
The sudden death of a loved one can be a massive shock, with no chance to prepare or to say goodbye. It’s hard to make sense of death in these circumstances and you may be asking yourself why? and what if?
Sudden deaths cut across both grief and trauma, so reactions may be intensified and complex. If you were directly involved in the incident yourself, or witnessed it, you may have been exposed to additional trauma. You may be grieving the loss of more than one person in the incident, be supporting others who were seriously injured, or you may have been seriously injured yourself.
On top of your grief, you may be dealing with shock, disbelief, anger, guilt, horror and a sense of unfairness. Sudden deaths often involve the loss of a young person, so there can be a sense of unfairness that their life has been cut short. When a child is killed, parents may feel guilt that they were unable to protect their child.
Sudden deaths may involve an element of violence – the death may have happened in a violent way or the person killed may have sustained violent injuries. It’s normal to replay what you imagine the person’s last moments were like and to imagine their injuries. These thoughts and images can be intrusive and you may feel you can’t stop them. Research shows that these imaginings are often worse than the reality.
Bereaved children and young people will need ongoing attention, care, reassurance, and loving support from those around them. What they can understand and the questions they’ll ask will depend on their age and stage of development. As children and young people grow and develop, they will respond to their loss in news ways. They may ask new questions sometimes, even years after the death.