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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.