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Breaking barriers, building bridges

Breaking barriers, building bridges

Frank stands in front of a decorative mask, wearing a white shirt and a lanyard.

In the hub of Auckland, Frank's daily routine as a sales Territory Manager revolves around store visits with owners of dairies, liquor stores and other small businesses.

During these conversations, Frank couldn't ignore the firsthand accounts from his customers who had been victimised by the surge in ram raids.

Frank decided there must be more he could do to help. That’s when he discovered Victim Support.

Give someone a rose and your hand will retain the scent.

Over Frank’s two years as a volunteer, he has encountered numerous cases that have stuck with him.

One such case unfolded in July 2023, during a tragic and high-profile mass shooting in the Auckland CBD. Assigned to support a construction worker from China who was grievously injured, Frank’s fluency in Mandarin became a lifeline.

Frank was able to bridge the gap, providing clear communication between the various agencies and the victim. He was able to give his client, who was dealing with one of the darkest times in his life, the information, practical assistance, and emotional support to cope.

According to Frank, one of the most fulfilling parts of volunteering is seeing a client after the initial meeting and seeing how much they have improved.

“To witness so many people and families getting better… that means a lot to me,” Frank shares.

Empowering victims through communication

Frank reflects on another case close to his heart, where he supported a family after they lost their child to suicide: “I first met this heartbroken mother two days after the incident.”

Navigating any traumatic event is difficult, but especially if cultural and language barriers add to the struggle.

“I helped to translate - talk with the officer in charge, the coroner team - to help her understand the process,” he says. Frank was there to break down those barriers, to ask questions on their behalf and give answers.

“It was the saddest case I ever got,” he says, “But it’s really good to see the mum get better and better now.”

Frank, on the far right with his local Victim Support team.

Frank first came to New Zealand from China in 2015. He believes that knowing two languages and being a part of the Chinese community is incredibly helpful when connecting with victims.

“Due to the language barrier and different legal system, most of us are pretty vulnerable when involved with police or criminal incidents,” Frank explains.

“It’s so helpful for them to have someone that can speak their own language to just be there for them, explain the process and to ask them ‘how do you feel?’, ‘what do you need?’”

Join the team, join a community

“And it’s not just the Chinese community,” Frank says. He’s a part of a wider team - “a big whānau” - made up of people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

At Victim Support, all our people undergo training in cultural sensitivity    to give tailored support, because crime, suicide and traumatic events do not discriminate.

“It’s a really helpful and lovely team. We help each other, talk to each other and care for each other like whānau.”

Frank’s experiences highlight the vast difference a single volunteer can make. "Sometimes just being there for them is the best support," he advises those considering volunteering.

Victim Support equips its volunteers with comprehensive training, ensuring they can meet every situation with confidence and care.

Be a part of something bigger

When asked why he volunteers, Frank shared two traditional Chinese sayings:

Give someone a rose and your hand will retain the scent.

Do good deeds without asking about the future.

We need more compassionate people like Frank.

Every volunteer brings their own unique strengths to Victim Support. We welcome volunteers from all walks of life, just like those we support. Bring your personal experiences, skills, culture and compassion.

Help us make sure that in the dark times, no one has to cope alone.

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