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ALL Homicide Victims should receive support

ALL Homicide Victims should receive same services or support as Mosque Attack Victims
24th April 2019

“Dear Prime Minister, please recognise that all homicide victims’ families and victims of serious violent crime are just as important as each other; they all need the support and navigation assistance through the Justice system that is currently left up to volunteers to provide.”

A call from the Sensible Sentencing Group Trust to the Prime Minister after hearing the announcement that there are to be Case Managers provided, solely for the victims of the Mosque Attack.

Case Managers will help families affected by the Christchurch mosque attacks access support services. Providing Case Managers meant families would only need to deal with one person to get the support they needed ‘rather than having to bounce back and forward between different agencies’.

Wigram MP and Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods was appointed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to lead the coordination of Government support on the ground.

Sensible Sentencing Trust Spokesperson Jess McVicar says this is a very good move and will be a helpful service for the Mosque Attack Victims, but why is this long advocated for service not being offered to ALL homicide victims’ families?

“For many years the Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) have been advocating for ‘navigators’ to provide end to end service for victims of violent crime, in fact as far back as 2012. We also raised this at the Victims Hui held in March this year, along with other Victim Advocates, and while it was acknowledged as something that needs to be done, we have heard no more regarding it; that is until now, but it has only been made a matter of urgency for a specific group of victims.”

“There is nothing fair or just when victims of serious violent crime get treated differently; murder is murder. The victim has their life taken forever in the most heinous and brutal way, and for the family of the victim or victims it is horrific and forever life changing. Their lives are never the same, so why are we treating the victims and families of the mosque attack differently to those other families of serious violent crime and homicide?”

The Sensible Sentencing Group Trust’s (SSGT) Victim Advocates have long been providing this service; supporting the victims of serious violent crime, sexual violence and families of homicide victims and navigating them through the Justice or legal system. The SSGT is made up of a group of volunteers who themselves are victims of homicide and other serious violent crime and have personally experienced the struggle of navigating their way between all the government agencies.

Jess says the trust will be writing to the Prime Minister inviting her to meet with some of the victims who are supported by SSGT and hear of their struggles and experiences within the Justice system.

“We are currently supporting victims who were getting bounced back and forth through the system until they contacted SSGT. All the while dealing with grief, stress and unknown outcomes."

"For the Prime Minister to meet with some of these victims would be a positive stepping stone in the reform of the Justice system, as these victims currently feel they have been shoved to the side and are ‘less important’. It will give her a clear understanding that this is not just a one off and is something victims and the Victim Advocates supporting them have long struggled with.” Ends


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