Practical information
After sentencing

After sentencing

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.
  • 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.

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.

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The justice system can be complicated and unfamiliar but knowing what to expect can help. We can help you understand and engage with the justice system, answer any questions you have, and be there for you if you want someone to listen.

We can support you with:

  • Rights and information. We’ll help you understand your rights, provide information, and support you to make informed choices.
  • Justice system. We’ll explain the justice system and help you navigate each step, including supporting you at key moments during court, parole hearings, coronial inquests and family group or restorative justice conferences. We can help you prepare a Victim Impact Statement or apply to be on the Victim Notification Register.
  • Linking with other agencies and support. We’ll help you liaise with police, courts and other government agencies.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

The Victim Notification Register provides victims of serious crimes with notifications about what's happening to the person that offended against them as they move through the justice system. This includes their Parole Board hearings, temporary prison releases, home detention, hospital detention or prison release date.

To receive notifications and be kept informed, victims must apply to be listed on the Victim Notification Register. Victims are also able to nominate someone else as a representative to receive the notification on their behalf.

A victim can apply to be on the register at any stage after an offender has been charged.

The Police determine a victim’s eligibility to be on the Register and the Department of Corrections runs the confidential Register service.

A Victim Impact Statement is your opportunity to tell the court and the offender how the crime has personally affected you as a victim - emotionally, physically, financially, socially and psychologically, and in your daily life. This is a different statement to the one you gave to police after the crime occurred.

A Victim Impact Statement helps the court understand your views about the offending and the information you provide, if you decide to make a statement, will be considered by the judge when the offender is being sentenced.

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.

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.

Citizens Advice Bureau | Ngā Pou Whakawhirinaki o Aotearoa

Visit your local CAB in person, search their website, or call for free, confidential support about your rights and how to access community or justice services you need.

Victims Information Line

Call for information about your court case, to access court documents relevant to your case or to speak to your Court Victim Advisor.

When a court case ends, victims often expect that this means their involvement with the justice system is over.

However, there are several ways that you can find yourself still involved.

  • The prosecutor or the defendant may choose to lodge an appeal.
  • You might have applied to go onto the Victim Notification Register and will be kept up to date with what’s happening to the offender as they move through the justice system.
  • You may want to have a copy of some of the court documents related to the court case.
  • The judge may have ordered the offender to pay you reparations for the harm or damage they caused.
  • When the offender is being considered for parole you might want to make a submission to the New Zealand Parole Board.
  • At the time of sentencing or parole, the media may take an interest and request interviews or invite your comments.

The effects of the crime and the court case can continue after sentencing and every victim will react in their own way. Remember that you are not alone and support is available.


How we can help



Financial assistance



An appeal

A legal appeal is the process that allows cases to be reviewed by a different judge.

The prosecutor or the defendant (offender) have the right to lodge an appeal against the sentence. This means they ask a higher court to look at the case again, or some part of it.

If this happens, then your Court Victim Advisor will let you know. You can go to the appeal hearing if you want to, but you will not need to give evidence in this instance.

If the court grants the appeal, a range of things can follow:

  • The offender may be given a different sentence.
  • A re-trial may be ordered. This means all the witnesses will need to give evidence again.
  • The offender may be acquitted. This means the charges against them are dismissed.

Many victims naturally struggle with the sentence being changed. Your Support Worker is here to assist you during this stressful time.


The Victim Notification Register



Accessing court documents

You can request to see or obtain a copy of the following court documents:

  • information from the court record, including a list and description of all the offences the offender was charged with, what the outcome of the case was, or any suppression or reparations orders.
  • any judgment, order or minute of the court, including any reasons given by the judge.
  • any sentencing notes made by the judge.

To request a court document

Ask a Court Victim Advisor or the Registrar at the court where the case was heard.

If the court has made a suppression order that doesn’t allow information to be published, you may not be able to access all the information you are wanting. This will be explained to you.



At the time of sentencing, a judge can order an offender to make a reparation payment - a certain amount of money paid to the victim or victims if they have experienced emotional harm, or had property lost or damaged as a result of a crime.

The judge decides whether reparation should be made and how much the reparation will be. The amount will be based on the level of harm done and the offender’s ability to pay.

If reparations are ordered

As a victim of the crime, you will be sent a reparation notice. This will let you know how much the offender has been ordered to pay. Offenders usually have 28 days to pay it to the court or to arrange to pay in instalments. The judge can give instructions about what is required.

If you feel the reparation ordered isn’t enough

You can take the offender to court for any extra amount you think is owed to you for the harm done.

Receiving payments

The offender pays the court and the court will send payment to you. To organise how you would like to be paid call the Ministry of Justice's reparation check on 0800 909 909 with your bank account details. If there are any issues with getting your payments you can also call that number to speak to someone for assistance.

If the offender doesn't pay

In this situation, the court will take compulsory deductions from the offender's wages, benefit, or bank account, seize and sell their property or stop them leaving the country until the full amount has been paid.



The Parole Board

When an offender is 'on parole', they're let out of prison before their sentence ends but must follow certain rules and conditions in order to live in the community, often under a probation officer's supervision. If a parolee breaks these rules, they risk getting arrested and returned to prison.

When an offender becomes eligible for parole, a parole hearing is scheduled, where the Parole Board decides if the offender can be released into the community to finish their sentence. The Parole Board will only grant parole if they’re satisfied that the offender doesn’t pose an 'undue risk' to the safety of the community.

Victims do not attend offender hearings but you will be invited to make a written or oral submission to the Board if you would like to do so.



Managing media interest



Support services




Useful website and other information


Downloadable resources