20 Mar Coping with the Christchurch mosque incidents – How do I get help?
*How do I get help flyer now available in Arabic. Can be viewed here.
If you’ve lost a loved one, been injured, or witnessed the Christchurch attacks, Victim Support is here to help. We’ll support you and your family to make sure you get the help you need.
How do I get help?
What if I am a victim of the Christchurch mosque incidents?
We offer free and confidential support for people affected by this tragedy. Please call us on 0800 842 846 to be connected with a support worker in your community. If we’re not the right people to help, we can refer you to the right place.
How can Victim Support help?
Our support workers can help with the following:
- Providing immediate emotional support in a crisis
- Providing practical support such as completing forms, applying for grants
- Giving you information
- Listening and talking
- Referring you to counselling
- Providing emergency grants and financial assistance to help you deal with your experience
- Advising you on your rights
Do you have workers trained to cope with homicide?
Yes, we have highly trained homicide support workers. They provide emotional and practical support in the immediate aftermath and for as long as required.
How do I get financial assistance and who is eligible for initial funding?
If you wish to access financial assistance, please contact Victim Support on
0800 842 846 if:
- You are a family member of the deceased
- You or your family member were admitted to hospital in this event
- You were a witness to the mosque incident*
How much assistance is available?
- $15,000 per family for each deceased family member.**
- $5,000 for each person hospitalised in this event.
- Additional grants may be available from Victim Support to cover other immediate expenses resulting from the incident, investigation or funeral arrangements (including family travel and accommodation).
You do not have to be a New Zealand citizen or resident to access funds.
* On a case by case basis and subject to assessment.
** $10,000 from Victim Support’s public fundraising; $5000 from the Ministry of Justice Victim Assistance Scheme via its usual criteria.
Can a victim also receive an ACC grant?
We can help you apply for an ACC funeral grant of up to $10,000, which is paid in addition to this funding. We can also assist you with applying for other funding from ACC. For more details see: https://www.acc.co.nz/about-us/news-media/latest-news/christchurch/
Please check back here for further information on our available financial assistance as it is updated.
Is what I’m feeling normal?
What are some common reactions to grief and trauma?
The events of March 15 may be particularly hard to make sense of. You may experience horror, disbelief, anger, guilt, unfairness, desire for revenge, and challenges to your belief system. You may be frightened by the intensity of these feelings, however they are a normal response to an abnormal event. You may also experience the following:
Emotional reactions including:
- Shock and disbelief
- Anxiety, fear about the safety of yourself and others, worrying about the future
- Guilt or blaming yourself or others
- Feeling sad or emotionally numb
- Anger at yourself or others
- Irritability or short-temperedness
Mental reactions including:
- Trouble concentrating
- Flashbacks, nightmares, or being unable to stop thinking about/imagining what’s happened
- Trying to avoid reminders of what happened
- Difficulty solving problems or decision making
- Absent mindedness or forgetting things
Physical reactions including:
- Feeling tired, exhausted or unwell
- Sleep problems – insomnia, disturbed sleep or nightmares
- Low energy or the feeling that you “just can’t be bothered’
- Inability to relax
- Frequent colds, headaches, aches and pains or digestive problems
- Lost or increased appetite
- Feeling on edge or sensitivity to noises/movements
More information on coping with a traumatic event is available here in English and Arabic: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/mental-health-and-addictions/mental-health/mental-health-advice-coping-after-traumatic-event
When do I need to seek professional help?
While common grief and trauma reactions generally ease over time, no one has to cope alone. If you’re ever concerned that they seem to be lasting a long time, getting extreme or worse, or you feel something just isn’t right, get help and support as soon as you can. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You can contact your GP or Victim Support on 0800 842 846 to find out about support options.
What can I do to support myself or others affected?
We encourage people to check on their friends and families, talk with and support one other, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Can I seek help from Victim Support on behalf of others?
Yes, you may ring Victim Support on behalf of someone you believe may benefit from our support.
How can I support children?
- Let them know they are safe. Keep calm and reassuring, encouraging, affectionate and loving, as best you can, to help bring a sense of security and comfort.
- Tell them what you know to be true now. Listen closely to how they explain things and talk about how they feel. Like adults, children who aren’t told things in a way they can understand can make up stories that are worse than what actually took place.
- You could ask what they think happened. If they already know upsetting details that are true, don’t deny them. If they have incorrect details, you can help clear them up. Children may blame themselves and feel guilty about what has happened. If the child knows people who were killed, reassure them they did nothing to cause this.
- If you don’t know something, say so. Let them know you will tell them more when you can.
- Let them know they can ask questions at any time – especially if there’s anything they hear or see.
More information on helping children cope is available here in English and Arabic: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/mental-health-and-addictions/mental-health/mental-health-advice-coping-after-traumatic-event
What if I need to talk to someone?
You can call or text the free 24-hour Need To Talk helpline on 1737 to connect with a trained counsellor.
Is it normal to feel distressed even if I don’t know anyone involved in the shootings?
Yes, it is normal to feel upset and anxious even if you were not personally involved in a major tragedy. An event of this magnitude can shake your trust in others and the world. You may see the world as a dangerous place now and “see” danger everywhere.
Can I be affected by media coverage of the shootings?
Yes. Research shows a link between watching media coverage of traumatic events, such as terrorist attacks, and distress. If you feel anxious or stressed after viewing coverage (and this includes social media) or feel you can’t turn away from the coverage, it is a good sign that you should limit your exposure. You may prefer to find out what you need to know from newspapers and radio rather than TV or online sources.