Practical information
The Parole Board

The Parole Board

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.

The New Zealand Parole Board is an independent group of trusted community members who are responsible for deciding if an offender is granted parole or not. Their greatest responsibility is protecting the safety of the community.

The Board is made up of current or former judges and members of the community with a range of expertise, such as social workers, health practitioners, or former police officers.

Offenders who become eligible for parole are not automatically released from prison. The Board will only grant parole if they’re satisfied that the offender doesn’t pose an 'undue risk' to the safety of the community.

All long-term offenders serving more than two years in prison become legally eligible to be considered by the Board for parole after serving one-third of their sentence. The exception to this is if the court sets a longer minimum non-parole period for an offender. This period is a set amount of time that an offender must serve in prison without the possibility of parole. Prisoners serving sentences less than two years aren't seen by the 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.

We work closely with the Parole Board to make sure victims have a voice in the process and are supported through it.


How we can help



Financial assistance



The Victim Notification Register



The parole hearing

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.

You will receive notice of the hearing at least three months in advance if you are registered on the Victim Notification Register.

Victims do not attend offender hearings, but you have the opportunity to provide input to the Board through written or oral statements if you wish. This is your chance to present your views about the offender’s possible release. Victim statements at these hearings can impact the Board's decision so sharing any information could make a difference.

The Parole Board prepares for the hearing by reading background information and a parole assessment provided by the Department of Corrections as well as any written submissions. The offender is also invited to make a submission.

At the formal parole hearing, the Board meets with the offender and usually questions them. They may tell the offender about the views victims have shared in any victim submissions.

This hearing is closed the public, but media can apply to attend, at the discretion of the board. If a media application is approved, reporting restrictions can be imposed by the Board, but it helps for victims to be aware that they may report on yours and the offender’s statements.


Making a submission to the Board

Anyone can make a submission to the Board about an offender, but only registered victims are sent information about the offender on request, automatically advised of an upcoming hearing, and advised of the outcome.

Making an oral or written submission to the Parole Board lets victims share their views before an offender's potential release. Under the Parole Act, the Board must consider any victim's input.

Your Support Worker can help you understand the parole hearing process, answer any questions you may have, and assist with your submission to the Board if you decide to make one.

Registered victims can ask for specific information from the Board to consider when making their submissions, like the offender's rehabilitation program attendance, current prison security classification and any new convictions since their sentencing began.

Oral submissions

If you want to make an oral submission to the Parole Board, you need to advise the Board in advance.  They'll arrange a pre-hearing meeting for you to make a presentation to the Board, which can be in-person or via video call.

You can have a support person with you, and the offender won't be present, though they'll hear a summary later.

Written submissions

Written submissions should be a single A4 page or less. You can request help from your Support Worker to prepare this.

While you can express your preference for the offender to view your submission or not, the final decision lies with the Board based on the needs of the hearing.


The Board’s decision

The Board decides if they will grant the offender parole or not and may also impose specific conditions such as where the offender can live, who they can or cannot contact, if they must respect a curfew at night or if they can drink alcohol. These conditions are set by the Board to help protect the community.

Registered victims will be formally notified on the outcome of the hearing, the Board’s reasons for their decision and any conditions set for the offender.



Useful websites and other information


Downloadable resources