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
Look in this directory to find a New Zealand lawyer
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.
Family, whānau, and friends can often be called on to help someone who is a victim, witness, or has been bereaved by crime or a traumatic event. Your empathetic support can play an important role in their recovery journey, even though it's common to feel uncertain about how to navigate these situations. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do or say and you may be feeling stressed by their situation as well.
Being a source of understanding, offering ongoing care, and being open to listen when they're ready to talk can ease some their challenges. While your support won't erase their pain, knowing they have someone to rely on can make their journey a little less daunting.
People will react in their own ways. You might see someone you know doing or saying things that are different from normal. These are completely normal reactions to a traumatic situation and most people find their reactions gradually lessen over time. Be accepting of their reactions and know that it will take time for them to work through what’s happened.
It can be helpful to understand what the person you’re supporting might be going through and some of the practical matters they will need to attend to.
After a crime or traumatic event, it’s important to remember that your loved one might not know how, or even want to talk about it. Give them space - they’ve been through a lot and may need to concentrate on themselves first.
Just showing you believe them and expressing your support and willingness to stand by them can be a guiding light during a tough time.
Listen and understand
Express your feelings
Offer advice with sensitivity
Provide ongoing support
Watch out for concerning signs
To provide effective support to someone who has experienced a distressing event, it's essential to avoid unhelpful responses such as urging them to forget, not talk about, or move on from it quickly.
Avoid general phrases such as “look on the bright side” or “if only”, and don't minimise their experience by saying things like “You’re lucky it wasn’t worse”, or assuming you understand exactly how they feel.
Instead, it's important to be patient, avoid judgment, and create a space for them to express their thoughts and feelings at their own pace. Not pressuring them into professional help can also be more supportive in the long run, as everyone's recovery journey is unique, and seeking assistance should be their choice and timeline.
Family, whānau, or a trusted friend of a victim of crime, can be a huge support during a court case. This includes helping them to find any information they are needing before a trial as well, through their Support Worker, Court Victim Advisor, or by utilising resources such as our Going to court page.
You may be called upon to be the liaison between the person you are supporting and the police, medical staff, or other agencies.
It’s helpful to keep your loved one involved in decision making and informed about any updates. It’s a good idea to check in with them regularly about what their needs and wants are and if there is anything they want conveyed.
If you have been asked to deliver a Victim Impact Statement, represent them at a restorative justice conference or receive victim notifications on their behalf, it's useful to learn about what's involved and how to get help.
If you are the designated spokesperson speaking to media on behalf of your loved one, spend some time with them to ensure you know what they want to say and that you’re representing them in a way that is most supportive to them.
Keep them involved and updated and check in to make sure their voice is heard.
It’s important to take good care of yourself - your well-being matters.
It’s not easy watching someone you care about going through a difficult and traumatic experience. Supporting someone through a bereavement can also be incredibly challenging, especially if you’re grieving the loss as well. Sometimes, the things that another person has experienced can start to have a second-hand effect on you also.
You may find it helpful to talk to someone supportive too or find it useful to let your loved one know what you are able or unable to do and be realistic in what your capacity is.
To be able to give others good support, you need to prioritise looking after yourself and take some time to yourself when you need to.