Robbery or Theft

Robbery is a type of theft which happens when someone steals (or tries to steal) property from a person by using force or violence, or threats of force or violence.

Theft happens when personal property is stolen from a person away from their home, such as at work, a café, or a car. Pickpocketing is also theft.

There may be more than one person involved in the robbery or theft.

Robbery or theft are not your fault - only the perpetrator is responsible. It is a crime to steal or destroy your personal things.

Whether or not you have been physically hurt during the robbery or theft, it can be traumatic to be threatened with violence. This is especially true if the robbery or theft involved a weapon. It’s also distressing that personal belongings are taken as this creates practical inconveniences in having to replace or go without property you need, use, or treasure. When a theft is done by someone you know, it can be an even more complicated and stressful situation.

Our Support Workers are available to support you personally, or as a family or whānau, for as long as you need us. You can call us 24/7 on 0800 842 846 to be connected with a Support Worker.

Report the crime to police
Police can give you advice on how to respond to this situation and keep safe. They will investigate and keep you updated on progress.

  •  Call police on 111 immediately if it’s just happened or you feel threatened or in danger.

  •  Call the police non-emergency number on 105 or go online to report what has happened to you or others you know.

  • Go to your local police station and  talk with the person at the front counter. They will tell you what to do next. You may be able to speak to an officer straight away. Consider taking a support person with you. Find your closest Police Station here

Give a statement
The police will interview you and will ask you to give a statement to assist their investigations. Your information could later help in any criminal court case.

  •  A police officer will write down or record what has happened.

  • What you say must be true. Giving police false information is a serious matter.

  • You’ll be asked to read it through to check it’s correct and then sign it to confirm it’s an accurate report of what happened to you.

Support the investigation
Police will investigate the case. This can take some time. They may need to interview you again. They will keep you updated on progress of their investigation.

Report the theft to the workplace or business you were in at the time
This alerts them to your loss, but also helps them to put steps in place to prevent it from happening there again.

If you have been the victim of retail crime

Visit Police's Retail Crime Prevention Hub to access resources, advice, and to find out what kind of support is available in your area.

If it has been a rural theft, including of stock

  • Report it to police as soon as possible (see above).
  • If you hear about unregulated killing and sale of meat you can confidentially call the MPI Food line on 0800 693 721
  • See also the booklet Rural Crime Prevention Advice Guide produced by FMG and police for rural employers, workers, and communities.

If others witnessed what happened, ask for their contact details and pass these onto police

Keep a record
Note down the date, time, and location of the incident and list what was stolen from you. Take photos of any damage done during the incident. You can give this to police.

Find ways to increase confidence in your personal safety and protection
Use the tips police suggest in their booklet Keep Safe, Feel Safe. Taking these actions can help increase confidence in your personal safety and security, and that of your family and whānau.

Give yourself time to recover from this experience
See below for some common reactions and ways to cope with them.

Everyone’s different and will react in their own way
After a robbery, most people will experience some shock and distress, especially if the incident was violent. You might find it hard to remember details because it all happened fast, and it can seem a blur. People will often experience some trauma reactions, such as shaking, a racing heart, a tight chest, difficulty breathing, or nausea. Ongoing physical reactions can include headaches, body aches, trouble sleeping, and changes in appetite. Existing health conditions may get worse because of the stress. If you’ve been injured in the robbery or theft, you may need medical assistance and time to heal and rest.

You may find yourself pre-occupied with what happened and unable to concentrate on other things. The memory of the incident might continue to be distressing. You might experience disturbing mental images, nightmares, or even flashbacks, as if it’s happening again. You may be anxious about experiencing another robbery or theft, avoid going out and being in public places. If you do go out, you may be more on edge.

You might find yourself replaying what happened, trying to figure out how it could have happened. Some people can become very focused on trying to find the person who did the robbery or theft.

If you have experienced a theft of your belongings, such as your wallet, phone, keys, or laptop, you’re likely to feel very angry and frustrated. It can also be extremely stressful managing without your essential belongings, and having to take time to contact your bank, insurance provider, phone service, to get replacements. It can be even harder if you don’t have insurance. A lot of things can suddenly become very difficult, and the financial cost can be high and the emotional stress significant. Some stolen items might be irreplaceable and have huge sentimental value. These losses can be especially upsetting. The crime also needs to be reported to police.

If this isn’t the first time you have been the victim of a robbery or theft, the world can seem very unfair and untrustworthy. You may find your reactions are especially strong.

These kinds of reactions are all normal
However, they might affect you more, and for longer, than you expect. See tips below for coping with the impact of what’s happened.

If children or young people have been affected by what’s happened
See our information sheet for parents and caregivers about Supporting your child or young person after a crime or traumatic event.

Looking after yourself is important
Encourage others who may have been affected to do the same. Eat healthy food. Drink enough water. Keep up routines and get good rest and sleep, as best you can. Do some simple exercise. Take some slow, deep breaths. Spend time with people you can relax with, or with a pet. Spend time in nature. If you find keeping busy helps, find useful tasks to do. See a doctor if you’re unwell, extremely anxious, or are having difficulty sleeping. Draw on any cultural or spiritual beliefs you may have. Accept caring offers from others if that would help.

A flashback feels as though you’re back in the middle of your traumatic experience or reliving some aspect of it. This can be in vivid detail and during a flashback it can be difficult and confusing to connect back to the present and to what is real. To better understand flashbacks and ways to manage them, see our information sheet Dealing with Flashbacks.

Talk about what happened
When you’re ready, talk to those you trust about what happened, such as a trusted member of your family, whānau, a friend, a workmate or employer if it happened at work, your doctor, a counsellor, a psychologist, a respected elder, rangatira, or a Support Worker. If any aspects of your story are particularly disturbing, speak to a professional. Talking honestly about how things are can help release the stress and emotional tension inside. You are not to blame for this crime, the perpetrator is.

Tips for coping with your reactions
To understand more about trauma and grief, and to learn ways to manage your reactions, please see:

If your reactions trouble you

  • Visit your doctor. They can do a health check and support you with any ongoing issues, such as sleeplessness, anxiety, or depression.

  • Consider talking with a counsellor or psychologist. They can help you work through your reactions and the consequences the crime has had.

  • If you need to find a local doctor, counsellor, or psychologist, please click here. 

If children or young people have been affected by what’s happened
See our information sheet for parents and caregivers about Supporting your child or young person after a crime or traumatic event.

We are here for you 24/7
Our Support Workers are available to support you personally, or as a family or whānau, for as long as you need us.  You can call us 24/7 on 0800 842 846 to be connected with a Support Worker.

Our support is completely free and confidential, and available throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

What we can offer
Our Support Workers can support you with:

  •  someone to listen, talk with, and support you to cope through trauma and loss
  •  help to understand your rights and make informed choices
  •  information and help to answer your questions
  •  help to access local support services and counselling to suit your situation
  •  someone to assist and support you at any court trials, hearings, and dealing with police and other government agencies
  •  help to prepare Victim Impact Statements and attend family group or restorative justice conferences
  •  financial assistance for victims of serious crime.

We are committed to providing quality support to strengthen the mana and well-being of all those affected by robbery or theft.

If English is your second language
If you require support in your first language, Victim Support can use Ezispeak to connect with an interpreter over the phone. Call us on 0800 842 846 and let us know. We will try to match you to a Support Worker who speaks your language.


Coping with Trauma
When you are Grieving
Dealing with flashbacks