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Victim Support Services
"... provide emotional and practical support, information, financial assistance, referral to other support services and advocacy for victims' rights."
New Zealand has a great Victim Support service that I can't praise
highly enough. They were in the office next door to mine for a number of
years so I got to see first-hand the kinds of support that they
About Victim Support
Basically, Victim Support is a community organisation that helps people get through traumatic events no matter where you are from. What kind of events? Homicides, sexual violence, assaults, vehicle crashes, suicides, burglaries, thefts; you name it, they're there.
It is an independent charitable trust that has about 70 branches throughout New Zealand with over 1000 volunteers, yes, they're volunteers. There are about 130 paid positions nationwide to run the organisation which relies a lot on donations.
Your Rights As A Victim
In New Zealand we have the Victims' Rights Act 2002. It sets out how victims of a crime or trauma should be treated with courtesy and compassion, their dignity and privacy should be respected and help should be given in relation to welfare, health, counselling, medical or legal needs.
How They Can Help You
If you're affected by crime or trauma, don't think, for example, that if house is broken into with nothing taken that it's a nothing. It is a big deal, it's a crime. I had my house broken into with just some paperwork destroyed and it's a creepy feeling knowing that someone has been in your space. Especially when you don't know what they look like.
You will be given the immediate support needed along with information and your rights as outlined above. They will listen (that may be all you need), refer you for counselling, assist and support you at court trials and hearings, help you with victim impact statements, attend family or restorative justice conferences with you and also steer you in the right direction for other specialist support services.
Emergency grants and financial assistance is available to help you deal with or recover from your experience . Often staff will have clothing, toiletries, etc., for when people have all their gear stolen or clothing taken for forensics. Some people are left stranded without even a toothbrush.
Victim Aid For Serious Crime Situations
Victim Support offers some specific services for victims of serious crimes such as homicide, a death caused by a criminal act (other than a homicide), sexual violence and other serious crime.
There is financial assistance to help cover some of the financial costs associated with serious crime. Specific criteria for eligibility applies and most of the grants are not means tested which is good because you don't need that added stress.
The grants can cover the loss of income and general costs, counselling sessions, travelling/accommodation to attend trials and other hearings and some family members may receive a daily allowance to attend a High Court trial.
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