Victim Support provides a hugely valuable service to people impacted by crime, trauma and suicide, and one of the reasons we can do this is the close and collaborative relationship we have with the New Zealand Police, a relationship that has been around since day one of our organisation.
The idea for a group catering to the needs of victims of crime originally came from a member of the New Zealand Police. In the late 1980s, Gisborne Police Court Orderly Kevin Joblin, concerned at the lack of help being offered to victims at court, set up a small Victim Support Group. Fast forward 35 years and from small beginnings, Joblin’s idea has grown exponentially. Today, Victim Support has representatives around the country, offering valuable practical and emotional support to over 43,000 people each year. And while we are an independent incorporated society, we have maintained an extremely close relationship with Police since those small beginnings in Gisborne.
The relationship between Victim Support and Police was cemented in 1998 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. This Memorandum sets out the commitment of Police and Victim Support to work closely and collaboratively together to ensure victims get the support they need. It also commits to focusing work across a broad range of areas to improve support for victims, especially for people at the highest risk of victimisation and repeat victimisation. It also sets out an arrangement for Police to provide pro-bono office facilities in police stations throughout the country, and for our National Office in Police National Headquarters in Wellington.
"So long as we keep doing a good job, working with respect and confidentiality, then the relationship will continue to go well.”
There are currently 51 police stations nationwide, stretching from Kaitaia in the north to Invercargill in the south, providing office space to Victim Support team members. In addition to this office space arrangement, we also receive a large amount of our referrals through Police – over 18,400 of our victim referrals came from Police in the last year alone.
“The relationship we have with Police is crucial,” says Wellington Area Manager Melissa Gordon. “Victims often feel intimidated by Police. They might feel nervous and confused. We can be a middleman, explaining and advocating for them. When everyone is clear on both sides about expectations and there’s trust and confidence in each other, then everything is quick and easy, and the victims reap the benefits. That’s what it’s all about."
Kelly Katene, Service Co-ordinator for Mid and South Canterbury, agrees. “Victims need to have breathing space between information gatherings. If all the information comes too much, too soon, they don’t process it. Police have a lot of information to give, our job is to act as the go-between, making sure the information is spaced out and communicated in a way they can absorb and understand.
“If we don’t work well with Police, collaborating and trusting each other, then victims don’t get the benefit.”
Whether it be making referrals, sharing office space, distributing goods or simply swapping information over a morning scone in the tearoom, every day around the country Police and Victim Support are working together to serve their local communities.
“We bond with Police at the stations we’re at,” says Kelly Katene. “You get to know their ethos, the vibe in the station, and how to communicate with them. So long as we keep doing a good job, working with respect and confidentiality, then the relationship will continue to go well.”
Nau mai, haere mai to the newest member of Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support’s National Board, Darren Rewi.
Mary Curnow, Victim Support's new Head of Volunteering, is passionate about its positive impact on communities and individuals.
Dee, a Victim Support worker, shares how her personal experience with trauma drew her to support others.
Shelley Brunskill-Matson, National Manager of Suicide Bereavement Service at Victim Support, stresses self-care especially in stressful times.
Meet Gaylene, a dedicated Family Harm Support Worker at Victim Support who promotes positive change through building strong relationships.
Victim Support's Contact Service gears up for its busiest period, handling 100,000 calls a year, providing support to thousands of victims.
By learning Te Reo Māori, Contact Service team member Charlotte hopes to better support those in need and bring cultural awareness to her work.
Jacqui is on a mission to become a fluent speaker of New Zealand Sign Language to provide the best support to victims of crime and trauma.
The partnership between Victim Support and Police is crucial in ensuring victims of crime receive the support they need.
Long-term support and relationship building – that’s the focus of Victim Support’s new Whānau Resilience programme underway in Counties Manukau.
One of the things Victim Support is most proud of is the dedication and support provided by our long-serving Support Workers.
Kevin Joblin, founder of Victim Support in New Zealand, talks about his vision to recognize and support victims of crime and trauma.
A Victim Support team works with Whakaari White Island survivors, families of those who have lost loved ones, and others impacted by the disaster.
In the aftermath of a devastating flood in Tokomaru Bay, Victim Support stepped in to provide much-needed assistance to affected residents.
Behind our dedicated frontline teams there are many people in critical supporting roles that enable us to sustain our free service 24/7.
Victim Support advocates for victims of crime and trauma, ensuring their needs are heard, rights protected, and services accessed.
As the stresses of Covid become apparent, there has also been a rise in the incidence of family violence, a ‘secondary epidemic’ in kiwi families.
Victim Support collaborates with Woven Earth to help family violence survivors rebuild their lives, providing essentials and support for a fresh start.
Victim Support's Contact Service operates 24/7, handling over 130,000 calls annually, providing crucial support to those impacted by crime and trauma
Deborah Du Toit is a Victim Support Worker who has been there for Kiwis through thick and thin.
Alanna Howard and Charlie Saunders, Service Coordinators in Victim Supports' Counties Manukau office are proud of the response to support victims.