Home Invasion

A home invasion happens when an offender unlawfully breaks and enters into a building or home while the occupants are inside.

Their purpose is usually burglary and sometimes victims may become injured. In extremely violent cases, there may be fatalities. It is a serious crime that can have far-reaching consequences.

Every situation is different, but this is a traumatic experience. Many people consider their home to be a place where they are safe. A home invasion shatters this sense of security. It’s common to struggle to find peace of mind for some time afterwards.

Our Support Workers are available to support you personally, or as a family or whānau, for as long as you need us. You can call us 24/7 on 0800 842 846 to be connected with a Support Worker.

Report the crime to police so you can get protection, safety, and support to recover. Your safety is their highest priority.

  • Call police on 111 immediately if you or someone else is in immediate danger. Tell them if there have been any injuries or fatalities.

  • Call the police non-emergency number on 105 or go online to report what has happened to you or others you know. 

  • Go to your local police station and talk with the person at the front counter. They will advise you about what to do. You may be able to speak to an officer straight away. Consider taking a support person with you.

Get medical help for any injuries
If you have been hurt, see a doctor, go to a hospital emergency department, or call an ambulance. People heal better and sooner if they have medical assistance. Have the doctor prepare a report that can be shared with police. It will be important evidence.

Give a statement to police

The police will interview you and ask you to give a statement to assist their investigations. Your information could help in a criminal court case later.

  • A police officer will write down or record what happened. After a violent or traumatic experience people’s memories can be a bit foggy or uncertain. Things that happened can seem like a blur. Take your time and do your best.
     
  • What you say must be true. Giving police false information is a serious matter.
     
  • You’ll be asked to read it through to check it’s correct and sign to confirm it’s an accurate report of what happened to you.
     
  • Police may also ask for permission to take photographs of any injuries as evidence and to obtain copies of any medical records relating to your injuries.

If you don’t feel comfortable in your home
Consider staying with family, whānau or friends to give you some time to think and recover in a safe place.

Support the investigation
Police will investigate the home invasion. This can take some time and is likely to involve a forensic investigation of the scene, which is your home. You will most likely need to find alternative accommodation during this time, which police or Victim Support can help you with. Police will keep you updated on progress of their investigation and may need to interview you again.

If there is to be a court case
Police will be in touch with you to talk about the court process and invite you to give a Victim Impact Statement. They will explain what giving evidence will involve if you are to be a court witness. Police will also let you know when and where you may be needed to give your evidence. Sometimes there can be delays in a court case, so they will let you know if that happens. PDF from Going to Court

If the perpetrator is sent to prison, you may be entitled to be placed on the Victim Notification Register.   internal link to VNR PDF from After Sentencing

Find ways to increase confidence in your personal safety
Use the tips police suggest in their booklet Keep Safe, Feel Safe. Taking these actions can help increase confidence in your personal safety and security, and that of your family and whānau.

Give yourself time to recover after this traumatic experience
See below for some common reactions and ways to cope with them.

Everyone’s different and will react in their own way
A home invasion is a frightening and traumatic crime and victims can experience a range of strong reactions. These might include shock, confusion, acute distress, anger, fear, and a sense of being violated. Some people may feel numb and unable to process what happened. Others find themselves feeling guilty and wondering … Was there anything I/we could have done to have stopped this from happening?

Victims may feel fearful in their home and be jumpy and on alert in case it might happen again. Locking up the house securely can become an ongoing worry. Living with increased anxiety is exhausting. Panic attacks may be especially troubling for some. You might find you become more irritable than usual and want to avoid others or to be near others more.

You may find yourself distracted and preoccupied by what happened. It may be hard to concentrate on anything else. It can sometimes be hard to remember exactly what happened if it all seems a blur. You might have some disturbing thoughts or memories, nightmares, or flashbacks, as if it were happening again. Often people will try to avoid anything that brings back bad memories for them.

Physically you may have difficulty sleeping or changes in your appetite. Other common physical reactions can include being shaky, tight chest, a racing heart, difficulty breathing, body aches, nausea, upset stomach, or headaches. Existing health conditions may get worse because of the stress.

These kinds of reactions are all normal
However, they might affect you more, and for longer, than you expect. See tips below for coping with the impact of what’s happened.

If children or young people have been affected by what’s happened
See our information sheet for parents and caregivers about Supporting your child or young person after a crime or traumatic event. Don’t hesitate to get them some extra professional help if they are struggling to cope. Helpful places to go for that help are listed towards the back of this information sheet.

Looking after yourself is important
Encourage others who have been affected to do the same. Eat healthy food. Drink enough water. Keep up routines and get good rest and sleep, as best you can. Do some simple exercise. Take some slow, deep breaths. Spend time with people you can relax with, or with a pet. Spend time in nature. If you find keeping busy helps, find useful tasks to do. See a doctor if you’re unwell, extremely anxious, or are having difficulty sleeping. Draw on any cultural or spiritual beliefs you may have. Accept caring offers from others if that would help.

Flashbacks
A flashback feels as though you’re back in the middle of your traumatic experience or reliving some aspect of it. This can be in vivid detail and during a flashback it can be difficult and confusing to connect back to the present and to what is real.  To better understand flashbacks and ways to manage them, see our information sheet  Dealing with Flashbacks.

Talk about what happened
When you’re ready, talk to someone you trust about what happened, such as a trusted member of your family, whānau, a close friend, your doctor, a counsellor, a psychologist, a respected elder, rangatira, or a Victim Support Worker. If any aspects of your story are particularly disturbing, speak to a professional. Talking honestly about how things are can help release the stress and emotional tension inside.
 

More tips for coping with your reactions
To understand more about trauma and grief, and to learn ways to manage your reactions, please see:

Your reactions are normal responses to a traumatic event
Even though it may not feel like it now, they will gradually lessen in the weeks and months to come.

If children or young people have been affected by what’s happened
See our information sheet for parents and caregivers about Supporting your child or young person after a crime or traumatic event. Don’t hesitate to get them some extra professional help if they are struggling to cope. Helpful places to go for that help are listed towards the back of this information sheet.

If they don’t lessen or get worse and disrupt your daily life and work, it is best to seek the help of a professional who has experience supporting people after trauma. Some people may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you have concerns, see your doctor, a counsellor, a psychologist, or ask your Support Worker about help that is available to you.

If your reactions trouble you

  • Visit your doctor. They can do a health check and support you with any ongoing issues, such as sleeplessness, anxiety, flashbacks, or depression.

  • Consider talking with a counsellor or psychologist. They can help you work through your reactions and the consequences the crime has had.

  • If you need to find a local doctor, counsellor, or psychologist, please click here.

We are here for you 24/7
Our Support Workers are available to support you personally, or as a family or whānau, for as long as you need us. You can call us 24/7 on 0800 842 846 to be connected with a Support Worker.

Our support is completely free and confidential, and available throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

What we can offer
You don’t need to report the crime to police to receive our help. Our Support Workers can support you with:

  •  someone to listen, talk with, and support you to cope through trauma and loss
  • help to understand your rights and make informed choices
  • information and help to answer your questions
  • help to access local support services and counselling to suit your situation
  • someone to assist and support you at any court trials, hearings, and dealing with police and other government agencies
  • help to prepare Victim Impact Statements and attend family group or restorative justice conferences
  • financial assistance for victims of serious crime.

We are committed to providing quality support to strengthen the mana and well-being of all those affected by home invasion.

If you have English as a second language
If you require support in your first language, Victim Support can use Ezispeak to connect with an interpreter over the phone. Call us on 0800 842 846 and let us know. We will try to match you to a Support Worker who speaks your language.

Downloads

Coping with Trauma
When you are Grieving
Dealing with flashbacks
If you have discovered or witnessed a crime or traumatic incident