Supporting a victim at court

Your support can help a great deal.

Family, whānau or a trusted friend of a victim of crime, can be a tremendous support at court. It is a difficult and demanding time for a victim and caring, kind and encouraging support can make a big difference.

Here are some helpful ways to support victims at court:

  • Provide transport to and from court.
  • Arrive at the court with them, so they are not standing alone.
  • Sit with them in the court seats to observe the case proceedings.
  • Sit near them if they need to give evidence and the judge says you can. Note that you’re not allowed to speak. You can only speak during the proceedings if the person in charge of the court talks to you directly.
  • Help them get home safely after each court session.
  • Go with them to a coroner’s inquest if the cause of their loved one’s death is being considered.
  • Go with them to a family group conference or restorative justice conference if they have chosen to be part of one.
  • Help them to find information they are needing. Look on the Victim Support website, ask the victim’s Support Worker, or the Court Victim Advisor.
  • Support them through the day. Court sessions can be very long so encourage them to take breaks and to eat and drink well.

Take time to look after yourself
It’s not easy watching someone you care about going through a difficult and traumatic experience.
If you become distressed or affected by what you hear or see at court, speak to a Victim Support Worker to get some support for yourself. You can call Victim Support 24/7 on 0800 842 846 to arrange for a Support Worker for yourself or the person you are supporting.

You may also find these external links helpful as a support person: