Victim Support | Understanding the justice system
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Understanding the justice system


The justice system can be a complex and confusing place for victims of crime. Victim Support workers help people as they go through the system with matters such as attending court, restorative justice, parole board, preparing victim impact statements and help organising travel and accommodation if required.

We help them to be in control of getting their lives back on track and ensure they get the services they need and their rights upheld.

There are numerous types of court in the justice system, the most likely one for victims of crime and trauma to be involved with are:

High Court

– is for serious criminal cases, major civil cases and appeals from the Family Court.

District Court

– conducts criminal and civil cases.

Family Court

– sorts out disputes for things like marriage dissolution, custody, access, and other child welfare issues.

Youth Court

– deals with cases for people aged between 14 to 17 years who have been charged with a criminal offence. This court oversees the Family Group Conference.

Disputes Tribunal

– is where civil disagreements can be resolved involving sums up to $15,000.

The Court of Appeal

– is located in Wellington and hears cases from the High Court and District Courts.

The Supreme Court

– is located in Wellington and replaces the Privy Court based in London. This court hears appeals from the Court of Appeal.

Coroner’s Court

– is where the circumstances of a particular death are examined if the death has been violent, unnatural, without a known cause or a suicide.

For more information please refer to the Ministry of Justice website.