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More than $3 million paid to Christchurch victims

More than $3 million paid to Christchurch victims and families

Injured victims continue to come forward for help

Victim Support have distributed more than $3 million to the victims and families of those affected by the Christchurch tragedy, as more people continue to seek help.

Two rounds of financial support have already been given to 47 families of those who were killed and 80 people who were hospitalised. In the past few days another 53 injured people have come forward or been identified as needing help.

“These are exceptional times and finding all those who need our help is an extremely complex process, which takes time,” says Victim Support Chief Executive Kevin Tso.

“We have been working closely with the Muslim community, hundreds of victims, the police, and government agencies to try to reach everyone who has been affected, to understand their needs and to make sure they are getting appropriate support.”

To date, 977 people have registered with Victim Support and that number continues to climb. Victim Support contact victims via police referral and together they have been focusing on ensuring no-one is missing from the list of those affected.

Canterbury Police District Commander, Superintendent John Price, says the effort to identify and help those who require support is ongoing.

“Every day we are hearing from more victims. Our primary focus is to make sure we are in contact with everyone. This is a complicated process involving many different organisations. It’s essential we get this right and we welcome Victim Support’s efforts in helping those who need it most, including bereaved families, the injured and witnesses,” says Superintendent Price.

Most of Victim Support’s funding has come from the charity’s Givealittle page, which raised more than $10 million and gave the public a way to financially support victims via a trusted entity. These funds are ringfenced to support the needs of victims of the Christchurch tragedy through their immediate and long-term needs.

A $15,000 lump sum was paid to the families of each deceased person on 18th March, including $5,000 from the Ministry of Justice Victim Assistance Scheme. A second payment of $15,000 was made to families from 18th April.

Hospitalised victims received a first payment of $5,000 three days after the incident and a second, of $8,000, on 18th April. Victim Support would like to urge everyone to check their bank accounts to ensure the payments have been received and to get in contact if they have any concerns.

In addition to the payments, grants have also been given to help cover immediate expenses resulting from the incident, including funeral expenses, travel, accommodation and other discretionary costs. Each is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Victim Support are currently working through how the rest of the money will be allocated and remain committed to ensuring every cent of the donations will be distributed to the victims and their families.

“We know from experience that it can take weeks for the effects of trauma to present,” says Kevin Tso. “We also know that many of the victims will need ongoing support in the months and years ahead, so we want to make sure the funds are managed carefully to provide support in the long-term.

“We know that nothing we do can make up for the losses and injuries that victims have suffered, but we are making it our mission to do all we can to make the lives of those affected just a little easier during such devastating times,” Tso adds.

Victim Support have been inundated with appreciation from the public and several Islamic organisations have pledged contributions to help continue the long-term support for the victims and their families.

Organisations include At Taqwa/New Zealand Islamic Information Centre, alManar, The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FiANZ), Handshake People, Muslim Association of Canterbury and the North Shore Islamic Association.

-ENDS-

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