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.
A crime, unexpected death, or serious incident can quickly become public information when the media shares details about what’s happened.
After a very serious crime, police may offer to work with you to release a media statement. In other situations, anyone from a media organisation could contact you, your family, whānau, friends, acquaintances, and even people you barely know to ask for details, comments, or an interview.
If the media contact you, it is your decision as to whether you wish to speak to them or not.
The media can have a positive role in assisting with enquiries if you or family and whānau members are asked to make a formal public request for more information about the incident. Occasionally journalists also independently investigate a case and find helpful new evidence. Their reporting may also help the police locate an offender through appeals for information, or alert the public to any risks.
However, it pays to assume the media may not have your best interests in mind. Victims sometimes find that journalists can be persistent, demanding, and intrusive when they are searching for details about a story. Their attention may be distressing and they sometimes find inventive ways to discover more information, including staking out homes, hospitals, and workplaces, or taking pictures from social media accounts without asking.
Be aware that you might also unexpectedly hear, read, or see something in the media about your case or incident that you may find upsetting. It can also be stressful reliving an already traumatic experience through media and to hear information which may not reflect events as you experienced them.
If there has been a homicide, a workplace or road fatality, or a death in a traumatic event like a fire or natural disaster, the police will only officially release to the media the name of the deceased once the formal identification of the body has been made. They will talk with the immediate family about this timing.
In the release police may include details like the gender, approximate age of the person and where they were found. They might also state that they have referred the death to the coroner or started a homicide inquiry. If you wish, the police officer in charge of your case, usually called the "OC" or Officer in Charge, can help your family or whānau to prepare and release a family statement as well.
Some victims find it helpful and empowering to share their story. For others, dealing with the media is very stressful. Speaking with the media or not is your choice.
Responding to media inquiries
Ongoing media attention
Responding to media inquiries
Choosing a spokesperson
Content sharing considerations
Ongoing media attention
Aotearoa New Zealand has an open justice system and members of the public and media can attend most court cases. The media do play an important role in reporting on cases.
In certain instances, the judge can close the courtroom to the public and media, or at their discretion, limit media presence or reporting on specific details of a case.
There are laws and guidelines governing what journalists can and cannot report on.
Under law in Aotearoa New Zealand, the media must follow certain restrictions about what they can report if a death appears to have been by suicide. These rules exist to reduce the chance of further suicides in the community.
After a suicide, the media cannot make public:
If you feel that media pressure has become too intrusive or demanding, or if you have concerns or questions, you can talk to the Officer in Charge or your Support Worker.
To lodge a complaint about media content visit the New Zealand Media Council website.