Practical information
Keeping safe

Keeping safe

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.


Help, advice and information for people (including children and young people) who have had something harmful happen to them online or in a virtual place or space.

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After experiencing or witnessing a crime or traumatic event, you may feel unsafe and lose your sense of security or trust. It's important to prioritise your safety to minimise any harm and protect yourself from any risks.

From creating a safety plan, to protecting your home or safeguarding your personal information, there are steps you can take to enhance your safety and support you to move forward in your recovery.

If you have experienced a crime or traumatic event, more information and resources to support your particular circumstances can be found on our Crime and traumatic events pages.


Reporting a crime

You may be scared to report a crime for fear of not being believed or taken seriously. Sometimes victims feel that they can’t tell anyone about what happened to them, but it helps when crimes are reported. Police take threats to your security seriously, and want victims to be safe and feel safe.

Some incidents are not a one-off and providing police with information about what happened can help them find the perpetrators and prevent this happening to others.

The more information police are given, the more effectively they can tackle crime and support safer communities. Remember that when a crime occurs, the offender is responsible, not you.

Whether or not you choose to report, you are entitled to free support from Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support. We can support you to report a crime but if you choose not to, we are still here for you.


Personal safety

If you’ve been the victim of a crime or traumatic event that has left you feeling unsafe, there are some precautions you can take to help you gain your confidence back.

When you’re going out

  • let someone know where you’re going and when you’re expected back.
  • lock your house when you leave it, keep your keys somewhere secure, and separate your house and car keys.
  • make sure your phone is charged and carry a charger.
  • stick to well-lit areas and stay alert to your surroundings.
  • trust your instincts and avoid risky situations.
  • plan for safe transportation, especially at night.
  • keep your belongings secure and close to you.
  • consider carrying a personal safety alarm, if necessary.

When you’re using a car

  • lock it when you park and keep anything valuable out of sight.
  • try to park in well-lit, busy streets.
  • keep your windows up and doors locked when driving.
  • don’t pick up strangers especially if you’re alone.

When you’re at home

  • don’t answer the door if you don’t who is there or don’t want them in your home.
  • lock front and back doors when you’re outside.
  • keep your car locked, even if it’s in your garage.
  • keep a phone near your bed for emergencies.
  • consider a personal or medical alarm or check-ins with a neighbour for added safety.

Women’s Refuge’s Whānau Protect Programme provides a free national service to help victims of family violence and harm to stay safely in their homes. This is a service for those victims at very high risk (further victimisation from the offender that will likely result in serious physical injury or death) and some key criteria must be met.

For those that meet the criteria, there is support with practical measures like installing security lights, providing monitored personal panic alarms, replacing locks and fixing broken windows, and connecting them with other support agencies.

To find out if you might be eligible or to submit an application for this service, please visit the Women’s Refuge Whānau Protect Programme page.

Making a safety plan

Everyone deserves to feel safe in their relationships. If you are facing family violence and harm, consider making a safety plan. This is a plan of future actions you can take to keep you and your family and whānau members safe if you feel threatened or are in immediate danger.

It’s important you have a safe place to go and trusted people to be around when you need it.

  • Plan for safety: think about leaving safely without writing anything down.
  • Secure your personal items: get your own keys, bank account, and keep money safe.
  • Communicate with children: reassure them without sharing all the details but teach them the plan emergency numbers.
  • Prepare an emergency bag: pack essential items such as financial and identification documents, medication, heirlooms, and your child’s favourite toys.
  • Identify safe places: know where you can go.
  • Stay in touch safely: make calls discreetly, keep your phone charged and near you. Tell your support people, even if you decide to stay in the relationship.
  • Workplace safety: think how you can safely get to and from your workplace and any steps you can take at work, or trusted colleagues you can inform.

Everyone’s situation is different but support can help; Manaaki Tāngata | Victim Support and other local support services can help you prepare an individual plan that works for you and your family or whānau.

Wellington Women's Refuge Safety planning provides a supportive list of things to consider if you prepare to leave and how to take care of your emotional safety during this challenging time.

If you are a member of the Rainbow community considering leaving a family violence and harm situation, see the Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura Safety Planning resource.

If you have left an abusive relationship you may want to consider having an unlisted phone number and also applying to go on the unpublished electoral roll. This means your address and details will not be publicly available.


Online safety

Taking simple steps to stay safe online is important to protect yourself from harm and avoid any negative consequences of online harassment, exposure to harmful content or online scams or fraud.

Safeguard yourself

Anyone can find themselves the victim of a cybercrime. There are some steps you can take to mimise the risk of it happening again and to keep yourself safe overall.

  • Be cautious about what personal information you share online like your full name, address, phone number, or financial information, especially with people you don't know and trust.
  • Watch out for phishing scams that trick you into revealing your personal information or clicking on harmful links.
  • Be suspicious of any unsolicited emails or websites that ask for your personal information. Don't reply to emails or open any attachments if you think the email might be a hoax.
  • Keep your software up to date as updates often have security fixes to shield your devices from malware.
  • Never share your passwords.
  • If a phone call or email doesn't seem right, don't be pressured into responding or sharing information.
  • Be mindful about doing online banking over wifi.

If you've been affected by cybercrime, don't be afraid to use and engage with technology, but be cautious about how to stay safe on your devices.


Hiding browser history

If you have serious concerns that someone can access your computer and it's a safety risk for you, consider using a library, workplace, or friend's computer.

When you are browsing the internet, it will save websites you have visited.

If you need to keep your browser history and visits to a website hidden, there are things you can do:

Please be aware that wiping out all your browsing history might raise suspicion for someone tracking you. Consider deleting select items only to avoid it looking suspicious.

Keeping your email secure

If you're in a family harm situation and the person harming you can access your email, it may be a serious risk to you.

To protect yourself, make a strong, difficult-to-guess password. Remember to log out after using your email and never save your password.

If you are sent threatening emails, you may want to ask a trusted family or whānau member, or a friend to print them for you and keep them safe in case you need to use them as proof if police become involved.


Phone safety

Mobile phones can be an easy target for theft but also for those experiencing family harm and harassment.

If your mobile phone has been stolen or someone has access to it, it may mean they have access to your personal information, browser history or even banking information.

CERT NZ has put together some simple steps you can take to keep this information on your phone secure.

Mobile or phone harassment involves unwanted voicemails, calls, messaging, video, or photo messages that cause you to feel harassed, threatened, embarrassed, or victimized.

Netsafe's mobile phone harassment and abuse information can guide you on how to protect yourself and block a phone number.


Home safety

It’s important for everyone to feel safe in their own home. You can take some simple security measures so that you can minimise risk to being burgled and also for you to feel more comfortable again, especially if you have experienced a home burglary, invasion or property damage.

Inside your home

  • put good quality locks on your doors, windows, sheds, or garage. Put security stays on windows, especially on the ground level.
  • lock your door when you’re at home and when you go out.
  • if you like to leave the window open when you’re sleeping, use a window security stay.
  • hide all valuables, and keep your wallet, laptop, smartphone, handbag, and keys out of sight of the windows.
  • consider installing a home alarm system if necessary.

Outside your home

  • consider installing extra security such as security lights or a videocam if necessary.
  • keep tools and ladders locked away when not in use.
  • keep your front fence or bushes low enough so that your home is visible from the street.
  • don’t hide house or car keys in obvious places like outside the front door under the mat, in the letterbox, or under a plant pot.

When you're away from your home for a period of time

  • make your house appear occupied: use timer lights or leave lights and radios on.
  • have a neighbour collect your mail or use New Zealand Post's mail hold service.
  • keep vacation plans discreet and avoid sharing too much on social media.
  • inform trusted neighbours by letting them know you’re away, exchange contact information, and ask them to watch over your property.


Community safety

A safer community helps protect everyone who lives and works in it. Knowing who your neighbours are or having people nearby that you can trust can create a stronger and more resilient community.

If a crime has been committed in the community, or you have been the victim of a crime, your neighbours may have witnessed something or someone suspicious that could assist police with their investigation. Working together ensures a better chance at everyone’s safety and the safety of the businesses around them too.

There are a number of local organisations such as Neighbourhood Support, Māori Wardens and Community Patrol New Zealand (CPNZ) that work hard to keep our communities safe. Connecting with them or simply knowing they have an active and positive presence in your community can help you to begin to feel secure again.

Police liaison officers

New Zealand Police also have specialist liaison officers working in communities around the country. They team up with communities to make it easier for them to use police services, pass on community worries to the Police, and assist in tackling and stopping crimes in communities. They can listen to your concerns and work with the Police to prevent victimisations and make your community safer.

You can make contact with Iwi, Pacific, Ethnic and Diversity Liaison Officers if you have an issue or query that you want to discuss, or want advice from them.


Support services




Useful websites and other information