27 Mar Speech: Victim Support update 27 March
Here is the latest update from our Chief Executive Kevin Tso to media this morning.
Before I go further I want to take a few moments to provide some context around Victim Support’s role and the services we provide to victims.
Victim Support is an independent charitable organisation which offers wide-ranging support to victims of crime and trauma.
We are the principal specialists in supporting victims of homicide in New Zealand and provide intensive support to those affected by homicide.
That support includes:
* Psychosocial support – that is someone to talk with and work through trauma;
* Practical assistance with day to day needs;
* Navigation and assistance to connect with services and support;
* Information and advice;
* Referral to and funding for counselling; and
* Emergency financial assistance
We have a large paid and volunteer workforce trained to provide support following homicide, and currently have 124 support workers engaged in Operation Deans, including from outside Christchurch.
Our service is victim-centred and victim-driven.
Our role is to ensure the needs of victims are identified and met, and to continue walking with victims for as long as they need and want us there.
Victim Support has been taking referrals steadily since the incident both from Police and the public.
Police Family Liaison Officers are continuing to provide warm hand-over to Victim Support.
The number of victims being supported is well into the hundreds and this will continue to grow, particularly as family continue to enter New Zealand.
Our National Contact Service is continuing 24/7 and has been managing increased call volumes of 40-50% since the terror attacks.
Needs for support are being experienced nationally, including from family members residing outside of Christchurch and entering New Zealand from overseas.
Support Workers have been supporting family members entering the country as and where requested.
Our support workers have received initial cultural competency training will continue to receive ongoing cultural training and advice.
We are regularly engaging with representatives of the mosques and the muslim community in Christchurch to ensure open communication and identification of needs.
While we do everything we can to connect with every victim, this is not always possible and we encourage anyone directly affected by the incidents who is not yet receiving support to contact us on 0800 842 846.
We would like to thank all media outlets who have publicised our 0800 number to make our service accessible.
Victim Support’s fundraising appeal has now received over $9 million in donations, and I would again like to thank all members of the public who have made a donation.
We are incredibly grateful for this support, and I want to reiterate our commitment that this funding will be ring-fenced and is not for Victim Support’s regular operating costs.
Well over $800,000 has now been paid directly to victims to cover a range of financial needs including cash grants, individual and family travel, accommodation, repatriation and funerary expenses.
These payments are funded primarily from donations, though include a portion of other funds administered by Victim Support on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.
We are committed to an inclusive process around the long-term management of funds that remain after immediate needs are met. We are continuing discussions with community representatives about this on Friday as well as seeking feedback directly from victims about further needs.
In conclusion, I would like to express Victim Support’s thanks for the tremendous outpouring of community support we have received, not just financial, but in the many well wishes and kind gestures we receive every day.
We are fully committed to meeting the needs of victims and continuing to respond quickly to an evolving situation.