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.
Family violence, also known as family harm, occurs when someone uses their words or actions to control or harm a family or whānau member.
This abuse can happen across all parts of society, in any type of relationship, by any gender and towards any gender. It can happen against intimate partners and spouses or ex-partners and ex-spouses, children, relatives or housemates. It can also affect pregnancies and an unborn baby. It's not just physical, but can involve sexual, emotional or financial harm, or neglect. This type of violence often remains hidden.
Some examples of family violence and harm behaviours include:
If you have experienced family violence, it's important to know that it's not your fault. No one has the right to harm you and you deserve to feel safe in your relationships.
The support of trusted family, whānau and close friends who listen and care for you, can help you feel less alone knowing someone is there to support you, whatever you decide to do.
It isn’t easy to speak up, but it is okay to ask for help. We are here for you and there are many supportive community organisations you can contact for help too.
Family violence and harm can involve assault, sexual violence, and stalking and harassment. More information and resources can be found by visiting our Assault, Sexual violence or Stalking and harassment pages.
Women’s Refuge’s Whānau Protect Programme provides a free national service to help victims of family violence and harm to stay safely in their homes. This is a service for those victims at very high risk (further victimisation from the offender that will likely result in serious physical injury or death) and some key criteria must be met.
For those that meet the criteria, there is support with practical measures like installing security lights, providing monitored personal panic alarms, replacing locks and fixing broken windows, and connecting them with other support agencies.
To find out if you might be eligible or to submit an application for this service, please visit the Women’s Refuge Whānau Protect Programme page.
If police attend a family violence or harm incident, they may choose to issue a Police Safety Order (PSO) to protect victims and their family or whānau. You can’t ask for a PSO, it is up to the police to issue one. Police do not need consent to issue a PSO.
The order can last for up to 10 days and during that time the person causing the harm cannot make contact with you or your children, cannot go near your home (even if they own it or normally live there) and cannot intimidate, threaten or stalk you.
If you, or a child or young person you care for are affected by a family violence and harm, you can ask your employer for paid domestic violence leave and flexible working arrangements.
You can find more information about your rights, qualifying for this leave and how to apply on the New Zealand Government | Te Kawānatanga o Aotearoa Family violence leave page.
Talk with police or a lawyer about applying for a protection order that gives you protection from someone who has harmed you or others in your family or whānau. A Support Worker can assist you to do this.
A protection order states a perpetrator must not hurt, threaten, or even come near you, your children, or other members of family or whānau living with you.
See the New Zealand Police information about protection orders for detailed information on the types of protection orders police can put in place, including how to apply for one.
The Ministry of Justice provides free and confidential safety services to victims of family violence and harm who have applied for a protection order or are the victim of an incident going through a criminal court.
Safety services are available to support you in managing the impact of violence and harm, regain confidence, and progress towards a positive future. You can learn how to keep safe and be given some practical information about how protection orders work.
There are also courses available for children to help them cope through any violence they may have witnessed or experienced.
The ACC Sensitive Claims Unit provides free and confidential access to support for people affected by sexual violence, including free counselling. More information on this service can be found on ACC's website or by calling the ACC Sensitive Claims Unit on 0800 735 566.
You can apply for a parenting order if there’s a dispute about who looks after the children and when (day-to-day care- formerly called custody) or when parents and others see the children (contact - formerly called access).
You can apply for an order to settle a dispute between guardians if you want the Family Court to make decisions about guardianship issues. These issues include where the children live, where they go to school, medical treatment (other than routine medical matters), what their culture, language, and religion will be and any changes to their name.
The Family Violence Information Disclosure Scheme (FVIDS) allows potential victims of family violence and harm, or concerned parents, relatives or friends, to request information relating to any violence history of a new partner.
The aim is to enable a partner of someone who has previously been violent to make informed choices about how and whether they continue the relationship.
Disclosure of information will be considered on a case-by-case basis and police can only provide information if the relevant legislation permits.
For more information you can contact the police in person or via their 105 line by following the information and links detailed in the non-emergency box above.
Family violence is when someone uses coercion, power, fear or intimidation to control someone they are in a close or household relationship with. This abuse can be physical,sexual, psychological (emotional) or economic. Family violence and harm can cause both physical wounds that you can see and deep invisible wounds. If you’ve been living with repeated abuse of any kind, you have been living in an ongoing state of fear.
You may be putting a lot of energy into trying to avoid the abuse happening again. This feeling of always being on edge can wear you down to the point where you may feel you are not the same person you once were. It affects your self-esteem and dignity.
It's common to experience shame but it’s important to know that no matter what the perpetrator or others may have said, it is not your fault. When a crime occurs, the offender is responsible, not you. You may also fear that you won’t be believed or that things will get worse if you tell someone. It’s normal to feel confused as you may have conflicting feelings towards the perpetrator. Violence of any kind is not okay, even if you love the person and want them in your life.
Family violence and harm can have a significant impact on children and young people, both physically and emotionally. Not all children and young people are affected in the same way, but family violence and harm situations are always frightening and distressing for them. The greater and more frequent they are, the greater the negative effects will be. For some it can be deeply traumatic and have far-reaching consequences.
The most important thing is to keep them safe. This may involve taking steps to protect them from the abuser, or helping them to develop a safety plan. It is also important to provide them with love, support, and reassurance.
Let them know that it is okay to talk about what is happening, and listen to them without judgment. Help them to understand that the violence and abuse is not their fault, and that they are not alone.
Encourage them to stay connected with caring family, whānau, and friends, and help them to find positive activities and interests to focus on. And, most importantly, let them know that you love them and support them. When children and young people are given warm and caring love, support, and ongoing safety, they can begin to heal from the effects of harm.
Remember, you are not alone. There are people who can support you through this.
If you're aware of someone experiencing family violence, or suspect they are facing abuse, provide non-judgmental support, show that you believe them, and support them in a way that works best for them - follow their lead about what they would like to do. Make sure they are safe and be careful not to say or do anything that may put them or their children at risk. If they’re not ready to reach out for support, don’t give up. It can take time for victims to be ready to reach out for help.