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.
When a serious road crash has caused a death or life-changing injury, its impact is devastating and far-reaching. Such a traumatic event happens so unexpectedly and people’s lives are disrupted as they try to make sense of what happened and find their way through the many consequences. For some, this could just be during their treatment and recovery, but for others it may mean ongoing or even lifetime complications and disabilities.
A road crash that causes serious injury is always investigated by police. They have a duty to try to find out exactly what happened, including if there was anything that suggests a crime was committed in causing the crash.
Police will carry out an investigation, which may include additional interviews with you and discussions with any other witnesses. They will collect necessary evidence and keep you updated throughout the process. They may also ask for permission to take photographs of any injuries and to obtain copies of medical records relating to the injuries.
The police investigation can be very technical and may take several months. The officer in charge of the investigation will let victims and their immediate families know if they have or haven’t decided to charge anyone.
The law requires the police to investigate the cause of every sudden unnatural death on behalf of the coroner. They must make sure no one else was involved in the person’s death. To investigate, they must ask questions and will speak to any witnesses. They may also choose 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 anything that might be able to help.
The police will remain at the scene until a forensic investigation is conducted. During this time, they will take photographs and collect evidence. On occasion, they might need to take personal items, but these will be recorded and returned later. Vehicles will be taken away for further police examination.
Understand that this investigation can be distressing, but it is a necessary part of their duties. It's a good idea to note down the name and contact information of the officer you speak to, in case you have further questions.
When police visit a family or whānau, they will organise a Support Worker to attend with them or to be in touch as soon as possible to ensure good support is provided during this tragic time.
If you’d also like the support of a specialist Iwi, Pacific or Ethnic Liaison Officer to listen to any cultural concerns you may have, ask the officer in charge of your case to contact one for you.
To formally confirm the identity of the person who has died, the police may also ask you, or another trusted person who knew them well, to assist them to do this.
Witness statements and information provided by you or any other witnesses can help investigators and are important for any legal processes later. It can also help those affected by the event, like the families or whānau of anyone injured, to better understand exactly what happened.
If the road crash involved a work vehicle, other agencies such as WorkSafe New Zealand, may also begin an official investigation and inquiry into the circumstances of the road crash and resulting injuries.
You’ll find information here if you’ve been injured or if there has been a fatality resulting from the traffic accident.
Ask your employer about any workplace support available such as bereavement leave, EAP services (Employee Assistance Programmes) for counselling and well-being support, or discretionary leave to help you through the tragedy.
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.
Detailed information can be found on ACC’s financial support after a death webpage or by calling them on 0800 101 996 if you are in need of assistance with any forms or to answer any of your questions.
ACC can also help cover the costs of recovery after a road crash. Your doctor can explain this to you and any forms that will need to be filled in. Read about what ACC covers.
You may want to have a memorial cross placed on the roadside where the person died. You must get the permission of the road owner. Waka Kotahi (NZTA) owns the state highways, but roads can also be owned by a regional, district or city council, or even private individuals and rules will differ depending on the owner.
The Citizens Advice Bureau offers some helpful information on what to do.
You may wish to request a Traffic Crash Report from the New Zealand Police if you need to file an insurance claim, for legal purposes, or to clarify details and circumstances of the crash you were involved in to better understand what happened.
Obtaining a Traffic Crash Report may be subject to specific conditions outlined in the Privacy Act or Official Information Act, depending on your involvement in the crash.
If police decide to charge someone with criminally causing injury or death, they will inform you and explain the next steps in the justice process. A Support Worker can also answer any questions you might have and help you through this.
If you have been in an accident where you or others were seriously injured, you may grapple with a range of reactions. On one hand, there may be relief that you survived, but there maybe guilt if others were not as fortunate. If you were seriously injured, you may be learning to live with ongoing disabilities, or health complications that need ongoing treatment.
You may blame others for the accident and feel angry, or you may blame yourself or find others are blaming you. It is common to feel shock, helplessness, anxiety and to be fearful of your safety and those you care about after a serious accident. It is also normal to feel anxious about putting yourself in the situation again- this may mean you don’t want to get into a car, on a bike, in a plane or use certain equipment again.
Children may initially feel nervous and anxious after a road crash but with caring support they will begin to recover.
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.