If you or anyone else is in immediate danger, call emergency services on 111.

  • If you’re in danger but it’s not safe to talk, call 111, stay silent, and follow the instructions to connect to police.
  • If you’re calling from a mobile, stay silent and listen for the 'press 55' prompt for help.
  • If you’re calling from a landline, stay silent and follow the operator’s instructions to press any button for help.
  • If you have hearing or speech difficulties, register for the New Zealand Police 111 TXT service so you can text Police, Fire or Ambulance in an emergency.
  • If English is not your primary language, Victim Support can use Connecting Now to connect with an interpreter over the phone. Call us on 0800 842 846 and let us know which language you need. Victim Support can also try and match you with a Support Worker who speaks your primary language.
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If you or anyone else is in immediate danger, or someone has attempted suicide call emergency services on 111.

  • If you or someone you know are thinking about suicide, call the Suicide Crisis Helpline for support on 0508 828 865 or call your local Mental Health Crisis Team.
  • If you have hearing or speech difficulties, register for the New Zealand Police 111 TXT service so you can text Police, Fire or Ambulance in an emergency.
  • If English is not your primary language, Victim Support can use Connecting Now to connect with an interpreter over the phone. Call us on 0800 842 846 and let us know which language you need. Victim Support can also try and match you with a Support Worker who speaks your primary language.
  • To make a quick exit from this page click on the Quick Exit button on the top right. Go to the Hide my visit page to learn how to hide evidence of your visit to this site.

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.

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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.

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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.

You may qualify for financial assistance under the Victim Assistance Scheme (VAS) which helps victims of serious crime by contributing to costs related to the crime, the justice process and recovery.

For more information you can contact your Support Worker, call us directly on 0800 842 846 or visit our Financial assistance page.

After what’s happened the media may want to get comments or interview you, your family, whānau, close friends or any witnesses.  Media can sometimes feel demanding and intrusive during stressful times but it’s your decision if you want to speak to them or not and what you feel comfortable sharing.

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.

These situations can seem very unjust and unfair and can cause both grief and trauma. There is an overlap between these two reactions but there are also some differences. Grief is a normal reaction to loss, featuring a range of responses that stem from sadness. Trauma is a normal reaction to an abnormal event, featuring a range of responses that stem from fear and anxiety.

To help them cope through what’s happened, provide a safe and supportive space for children and young people to process their thoughts in their own way and reassure them it’s not their fault.

Family, whānau and friends can suddenly be called on to help someone who is a victim, witness, or has been bereaved by a crime or a traumatic event. Your caring support can help the person feel more able to cope and begin to recover. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do or say and you may be feeling stressed by their situation as well. Being there to listen and taking care of yourself along the way helps.

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.

The police will ask you to detail what happened and  to make a statement. If you are comfortable doing that, the information you give will help police with their investigation.

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 officer will write down or record what you say and will give you a copy of your statement to confirm it’s an accurate report of what happened. If you remember additional details later on, you can get in touch with the police officer looking after the case, usually called the "OC" or Officer in Charge.

The Investigation

Police will carry out an investigation, which may include additional interviews with you or any other witnesses. They will collect necessary evidence and keep you updated throughout the process. Be aware that investigations can take some time.

Witness Statements

Witness statements and information provided by you or any other witnesses can help investigators and are important for any legal processes later. They can also help those affected by the event, like the families or whānau of anyone harmed, to better understand exactly what happened.

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.

For emergencies

Call police on 111 if you’re concerned for the immediate safety of yourself or others, the incident is happening or has just happened, there's serious risk to life or property or there’s an offender there.

If you can't decide if it's an emergency, call 111 and they will help you work out what to do.

For non-emergencies

If the incident doesn’t need urgent police or emergency services, you're not in immediate danger or you have new information about a case, you can make a report in a few ways:

Call the police non-emergency number on 105

Fill in a New Zealand Police 105 report

In person
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.

If you feel unable to report the incident to police directly

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.

Court cases can take some time and the experience may be unfamiliar but getting help and knowing what to expect can make things easier. Your Support Worker can assist and support you throughout the process, including helping you navigate the justice system, deal with police and other government agencies, attend a restorative justice conference and write a Victim Impact Statement.

Any sudden death that is unexpected, violent or suspicious will be investigated by a coroner. Coroners are responsible for determining the details surrounding the death, including how, where, when, and why it occurred. This information is important in listing the cause of death on the official death certificate. It is a complex process that can vary according to the different circumstances of the death but is handled carefully and respectfully by those involved.

Advice and information is available from Aotearoa New Zealand embassies in the country concerned and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) can help. They can liaise with New Zealand Police and the country the person died in about the local investigation and justice process.

MFAT can let you know about:

Official processes required in the country the person died in.

Available local burial or cremation options and any requirements that must be met.

Contact details for funeral directors in that country who could manage the funeral or tangihanga.

How you can bring back the person’s body or ashes (repatriation) to Aotearoa New Zealand.

If a person’s body or their ashes are being returned to Aotearoa New Zealand

The immediate family or whānau can ask a funeral director in Aotearoa New Zealand about the options they have for arranging for their loved one's body or ashes to be repatriated (brought back to New Zealand).

Urgent travel

If you live overseas but the death of someone close to you has happened in Aotearoa New Zealand, the bereaved family or whānau are able to access some assistance here in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support
Call us 24/7 on 0800 842 846 to be connected to a Support Worker for assistance.

The Ministry of Justice's Victims Information Centre
Find information, advice and support. Contact them here.

Support through the criminal justice system
Look in this directory to find a New Zealand lawyer

Some financial support
ACC may accept a claim for accidental death which would provide financial support to cover some costs when the death of a New Zealander has been confirmed by police as murder or manslaughter. If you're overseas contact ACC on +64 7 848 7400

Your chosen funeral director can do as little or as much as you want them to do. Talk with your funeral director about what you would like, including any cultural or religious rituals you want honoured. Ask them about costs and payment options, so you can make choices that are manageable.

A funeral director helps bereaved families and whānau in several ways, including:

collecting the person’s body from the mortuary and caring for them at their funeral home until burial or cremation

providing information about necessary legal requirements after a death

registering the death and helping families get a copy of the death certificate

explaining how you can bring back the person’s body or ashes (repatriation) to Aotearoa New Zealand.

preparing the body for viewing if the family wishes this and it is possible

fulfilling the family’s choices for the funeral, tangihanga (tangi), or memorial event

checking if the person’s legal will requested certain funeral arrangements

organising cremation or burial procedures that meet necessary requirements

helping families apply for financial assistance, if needed

If you and your immediate family or whānau prefer to organise a burial or cremation without a funeral director

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.

The tragic death of someone close to us is always distressing, and when it happens unexpectedly or in some cases violently, it can be even more challenging. We might hear the news from others or have witnessed the person’s death ourselves, and the shock can leave us unsure about what we need to do.

A lot needs to happen within the first few days after a death and many people and agencies become involved. They understand how distressing this time is will support you through it respectfully and with care.

Call the National Sexual Harm Helpline Safe to Talk, a 24/7 free, confidential helpline that provides non-judgmental support to individuals of any gender who have experienced sexual harm.

Safe to Talk can provide referrals to specialised support including for Māori, Pasifika, migrants and refugees, LGBTTQI+, and male survivors, and they offer helpful information about sexual harm, local support agencies, and what to expect if you choose to report the crime to the police.

If your first language is not English, they have interpreter services available for over 40+ languages.‍

Free call 0800 044 334 or text 4334

Website and online live chat

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.


Free 24/7 helpline for counselling support for anyone who is stressed, needs someone to talk to, or is feeling overwhelmed.

Aoake te Rā | Bereaved by Suicide Service

Free service that provides support and manaaki to individuals, whānau, and communities who have lost someone to suicide.

Depression NZ

Free 24/7 depression helpline and information and resources to help individuals dealing with depression in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Family Services Directory

Directory of nationwide support providers who can help families and whānau cope with common issues and problems.

Lifeline Aotearoa

Free 24/7 helpline to support the emotional wellbeing of New Zealanders and connect people to support that helps them cope through a difficult situation.

Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

Nationwide directory of GPs, mental health counsellors and services, and information for anyone in need of mental health support.

New Zealand Relay

Helps people who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech-impaired, and deafblind to connect with support services over the phone.

Rural Support Trust

Free local and critical assistance to farmers and rural communities facing hardships from extreme weather events to health and wellbeing challenges.

Skylight Trust

Counselling, resources, and a specialist support library for children, young people, and adults who are experiencing any kind of grief, loss or trauma, including after a homicide or suicide.

Suicide Crisis Helpline

Free 24/7 crisis helpline for those who are thinking about suicide or if someone you know is thinking about suicide.

Talking Works NZ

A directory of professional counsellors around Aotearoa New Zealand.

What's Up

Free nationwide counselling helpline and webchat service for children, tamariki and teenagers,rangitahi who need some support to help them to deal with what’s on their mind.


Free 24/7 helpline, and face-to-face mental health counselling services for young people.

The unexpected death of someone close is always hard, but the death of someone by a suspected suicide can be especially painful, confronting and unsettling. You may have found the person or witnessed what happened. It may have been a person close to you or a person you didn’t know. It is a uniquely difficult experience and the sense of loss and grief that follows can be intense.

Early reactions to the news often include shock, disbelief, and numbness. It may take time to determine if the death was a suicide or caused by other factors. In an attempt to make sense of what’s happened, some individuals may find themselves needing to find answers to profound spiritual and life questions.

The investigation process, involvement of coronial services, and potential media attention can further heighten stress levels. Despite reduced stigma surrounding suicide today, families and whānau may still face judgment or shame, and individuals may struggle with feelings of self-judgment or whakamā. These external pressures can make the grieving and healing process more difficult.

Finding some extra support at this time could help ease some of the pain of this traumatic experience. Many people bereaved by suicide say that while they appreciated help early on, they also needed support later; emotional support and practical help when they needed it. 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.

Many people and agencies become involved after a suicide or suspected suicide. They understand how distressing this time is and will support you through it respectfully and with care. Our highly trained Support Workers have in-depth knowledge of the impact a suicide death can have on people, the services available, and the legal processes that must follow. We are here to help, you don’t have to go through this alone.


How we can help



First steps you can take

Stay safe


Report the incident to police


The police investigation

The law requires the police to investigate the cause of every sudden unexplained death on behalf of the coroner. They must make sure no one else was involved in the person’s death. Sometimes it can be unclear if a death was by suicide or another cause. To investigate, they 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 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. 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.


If you have witnessed or discovered the incident



Watching out for others

It's important to be vigilant for warning signs of suicidal thinking, especially when someone has been bereaved by suicide. It is not uncommon for thoughts of suicide to arise in their own mind during this challenging time, which can put those who are especially vulnerable at risk. Additionally, after experiencing a suicide loss, you may become more aware of the well-being of others.

Here are some warning signs to watch for:

  • persistent feelings of bitterness, anger, rage, guilt, self-blame, or whakamā.
  • neglecting their own well-being and displaying a lack of concern for themselves.
  • negative changes in behavior at home, socially, or at work.
  • increased use of alcohol or drugs.
  • significant changes in sleep patterns, either sleeping too little or excessively.
  • changes in appetite.
  • inability to find joy or pleasure in life.
  • extreme anxiety, depression, or noticeable changes in mood.
  • ongoing feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
  • expressing thoughts that life has no purpose or meaning or there’s no reason for living.
  • talking or writing about wanting to join their deceased loved one or that they would be better off dead.
  • expressing a desire to escape or feeling trapped in order to end emotional pain.
  • directly discussing death or attempting suicide, or making threats related to suicide.

If you notice these warning signs in someone, it is crucial to take them seriously and seek immediate help from professionals, helplines specialising in suicide prevention, or 111 emergency services if someone is in immediate danger.


Financial assistance



Practical matters

Bereavement leave and support

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.

Blessing the site


Practical support through bereavement


The coronial process


If the person has died overseas


If you live overseas but the death happened in New Zealand


Letting others know

Sharing the difficult news of a suicide is challenging and it’s hard to hear. This section offers some suggestions to help you manage the process.

Preparing and delivering the news

It’s important that family, whānau, and friends close to the person hear the news and details about what is known as soon as possible. This is best coming from someone who can do this in a sensitive way and, if possible, it should be done in person or by phone, rather than by text or an online message.

You might want to tell people yourself, or you could ask a trusted member of the family or whānau, or a friend to help do this. It can be hard to deal with other people's reactions so having support can help.

It's helpful to make a list of the people who need to be informed as soon as possible and others who can be informed at a later date, and to discuss with your family or whānau what information should be shared and what should be kept private.

Prepare a few words to say in advance. You could say something like ‘I’m sad to tell you that xx has died unexpectedly. It looks like they have taken their own life, but we’re not sure and it’s being investigated.’

Dealing with other people’s reactions

Shock can make bad news hard to take in. You may find yourself needing to repeat what you’ve said and people may respond with comments, questions, and a desire for answers. They may also have had a close relationship with the person who has died and are trying to make sense of the situation.

Remember that you are not obligated to provide information or answer questions that you are not comfortable with. It is perfectly acceptable to let people know that you do not wish to discuss certain details or that you need time before sharing more.

Shock can also lead to some individuals feeling unsure about what to say, and they may unintentionally say or do things that are hurtful so having support when you share  the news can help.

Telling children and young people

It can be incredibly hard to tell such sad news to a child or young person. Being honest with them early on protects them from later hearing the news insensitively or incorrectly from others. What they can understand and the questions they’ll ask will depend on their age and stage of development.


Sharing the news on social media

Be careful if you share the news on social media or the internet and you may want to consider taking a break from social media.

  • Make sure those close to the person first hear the news in a personal way.
  • Realise others might spread the news or post things to honour the person. You won’t have control over how they do this.
  • Some comments may be hurtful. Avoid reading them. They’ll add unwanted stress.
  • If you post photos of the person who has died, media can access these and use them. They can also continue to use them for years afterwards, which can cause distress to members of family, whānau, and friends who unexpectedly see images on their loved one used publicly.
  • If the person who died had social media accounts, you may want these to stay active for people to continue posting on or to close them down.

When people offer immediate support

People may offer immediate support, such as helping with daily tasks or errands, which can be kind and beneficial. However, it's important to remember that it's okay to feel overwhelmed and to need some personal space during this time. You can accept offers of help if you feel comfortable, but it's also acceptable to politely decline and express your need for space.

To create a sense of privacy and provide yourself with time to process and grieve, consider using a voicemail message or automatic email reply to communicate that you may be unavailable. You can also postpone reading and responding to letters and messages until you're ready.

If needed, ask visitors to keep their visits brief or indicate on your door that you prefer no visitors. You could also ask someone trusted to deal with calls and visitors on your behalf.

By making these choices, you can give yourself space to think and grieve as you cope with the news yourself.

Managing media interest


Under law in Aotearoa New Zealand, the media must follow certain restrictions about what they can report if a death appears to have been by suicide. These rules exist to reduce the chance of further suicides in the community.

The media cannot make public:

  • the method or suspected method of the death
  • any detail (like the place of death) that might suggest the method or suspected method of the death
  • a description of the death as a suicide before the coroner has released their findings and stated the death was a suicide, although the death can be described as a suspected suicide before then.


Common reactions and how to cope

For most people, the news of suicide will come as an intense shock. You may have found the person or witnessed what happened or it may have been a person you didn’t know. It also might be unclear for some time if the death was a suicide or by another cause.

If you have lost someone close to you or someone you know to suicide, you may be overwhelmed by a mixture of grief, trauma and intense emotions. Suicide not only involves the reactions common to sudden death, but also unique complexities, including:

Guilt and self-blame

Survivors may believe they should have seen the signs and could have somehow prevented the suicide. Or you may blame or be blamed by others. Guilt can be particularly challenging to process, and you may replay “what if” and “if only” scenarios in your mind.

Shame and stigma

You may be negatively affected by your own beliefs or the beliefs of others around suicide. Some people may express negative reactions or judgements toward you, or may avoid you altogether, because they don’t understand suicide or how it affects you. You may feel shame or whakamā and isolated from others at a time when you really need their support.

Anger and confusion

You may feel anger towards the person who died for their choice or for leaving you, the mental health system or others, or towards yourself for missing clues about their distress or suicidal intentions. Grappling with the question of “why?” is one of the hardest aspects of suicide. You may have unanswered questions and struggle to make sense of your loss. Not every question can be answered easily, and this can be deeply frustrating. You may find they have some big spiritual and life questions.


You may feel a sense of relief that the person has died if you knew they were suffering from some time.



Supporting others

Supporting children and young people

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.


Supporting victims, witnesses, or the bereaved



Support services




Useful websites and other information


Downloadable resources