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 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 to deal with. There is no opportunity to say goodbye and it affects entire families, whānau and communities. 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.
Visit our Crime and traumatic events page for more information and resources to support your circumstances and find practical support here to guide you through the next steps.
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 and will support you through it respectfully and with care, enabling you to make decisions and have your needs met.
Ask your employer about any workplace support available such as bereavement leave, Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) services for counselling and well-being support, or discretionary leave to help you through the tragedy.
When someone dies in an accident, ACC can provide a range of financial support to the family or whānau of the deceased. This may include helping to pay for the funeral and providing some ongoing financial assistance.
Sharing the difficult news of a death is challenging and it’s hard to hear. This section offers some suggestions to help you manage the process.
It’s important that family, whānau, and friends close to the person hear the news and details about what is known as soon as possible. This is best coming from someone who can do this in a sensitive way and, if possible, it should be done in person or by phone, rather than by text or an online message.
You might want to tell people yourself, or you could ask a trusted member of the family or whānau, or a friend to help do this. It can be hard to deal with other people's reactions so having support can help.
It's helpful to make a list of the people who need to be informed as soon as possible and others who can be informed at a later date, to discuss with your family or whānau what information should be shared and what should be kept private, and to prepare a few words to say in advance.
Shock can make bad news hard to take in. You may find yourself needing to repeat what you’ve said and people may respond with comments, questions, and a desire for answers. They may also have had a close relationship with the person who has died and are trying to make sense of the situation.
Remember that you are not obligated to provide information or answer questions that you are not comfortable with. It is perfectly acceptable to let people know that you do not wish to discuss certain details or that you need time before sharing more.
Shock can also lead to some individuals feeling unsure about what to say, and they may unintentionally say or do things that are hurtful so having support when you share the news can help.
It can be incredibly hard to tell such sad news to a child or young person. Being honest with them early on protects them from later hearing the news insensitively or incorrectly from others. What they can understand and the questions they’ll ask will depend on their age and stage of development.
Be careful if you share the news on social media or the internet and you may want to consider taking a break from social media.
People may offer immediate support, such as helping with daily tasks or errands, which can be kind and beneficial. However, it's important to remember that it's okay to feel overwhelmed and to need some personal space during this time. You can accept offers of help if you feel comfortable, but it's also acceptable to politely decline and express your need for space.
To create a sense of privacy and provide yourself with time to process and grieve, consider using a voicemail message or automatic email reply to communicate that you may be unavailable. You can also postpone reading and responding to letters and messages until you're ready.
If needed, ask visitors to keep their visits brief or indicate on your door that you prefer no visitors. You could also ask someone trusted to deal with calls and visitors on your behalf.
By making these choices, you can give yourself space to think and grieve as you cope with the news yourself.
The loss of any child, at any age, is devastating. It is always a deep tragedy for parents, siblings, family, whānau, friends, and the community.
The pain can feel unfair and be compounded when the loss has been by suicide, or caused by a crime, traumatic event or sudden death.
Sometimes, babies or young children can die suddenly and unexpectedly, and it might be hard to understand why it happened. Investigations can help figure things out, but it doesn't make it any less difficult to deal with. Sadly, some of these cases happen because of accidents or violence. No matter what caused it, people in these situations need caring emotional and practical support.
There are a number of specialized support services to assist you during this difficult time.
The sudden death of a loved one can be a massive shock, with no chance to prepare or to say goodbye. It’s hard to make sense of death in these circumstances and you may be asking yourself why? and what if? Sudden deaths cut across both grief and trauma, so reactions may be intensified and complex.
If you were directly involved in the incident yourself, or witnessed it, you may have been exposed to additional trauma. You may be grieving the loss of more than one person in the incident, be supporting others who were seriously injured,or you may have been seriously injured yourself.
On top of your grief, you may be dealing with shock, disbelief, anger, guilt, horror and a sense of unfairness. Sudden deaths often involve the loss of a young person, so there can be a sense of unfairness that their life has been cut short. When a child is killed, parents may feel guilt that they were unable to protect their child. Sudden deaths may involve an element of violence – the death may have happened in a violent way or the person killed may have sustained violent injuries.
It’s normal to replay what you imagine the person’s last moments were like and to imagine their injuries. These thoughts and images can be intrusive and you may feel you can’t stop them. Research shows that these imaginings are often worse than the reality.
Bereaved children and young people will need ongoing attention, care, reassurance, and loving support from those around them. What they can understand and the questions they’ll ask will depend on their age and stage of development. As children and young people grow and develop, they will respond to their loss in news ways. They may ask new questions sometimes, even years after the death.