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:
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.
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.
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.
Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support
Call us 24/7 on 0800 842 846 to be connected to a Support Worker for assistance.
Support through the criminal justice system
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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.
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 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.
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:
Many victims naturally struggle with the sentence being changed. Your Support Worker is here to assist you during this stressful time.
You can request to see or obtain a copy of the following court documents:
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.
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.
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.