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Communtity Law Manual | Accident compensation (ACC) | Christchurch shootings: Support for victims

Christchurch shootings: Support for victims

Support available from ACC for Christchurch victims and their families

You can get support from ACC if you or a family member were injured in the terror attack in Christchurch in March 2019, or if you lost a loved one in the attack.

ACC covers everyone in New Zealand, including visitors if they are injured while they are here.

ACC has a dedicated freephone number for victims and their families to call to get information and support – 0800 080 273.

It’s a good idea to contact ACC if you think you may need their support.

For people injured in the attack

If you were injured in the Christchurch terror attack, you can get:

  • cover for all your medical care
  • up to 80% of your income as weekly compensation if you can’t work because of your injury
  • support for cleaning and looking after your home and everyday personal tasks like showering and dressing while you are injured
  • support for childcare either at home or at a playcentre or kindergarten
  • support with care for injured parents to help them with everyday tasks
  • mental health support and counselling if it’s needed.

For families who have lost a loved one

If you lost a family member or other loved ones in the Christchurch attack, you can get:

  • A tax-free funeral grant of up to $6,219 for funeral and memorial costs. This is topped up to a total of $10,000 by the Ministry of Justice. The funeral or memorial can be held either in New Zealand or overseas.
  • A one-off, tax-free survivor’s grant of up to:
    • $6,668 for the partner
    • $3,334 for each child under 18 or other dependants. For children under 16, the money will go to the parent or caregiver.
  • Weekly childcare payments for up to five years, or until the child turns 14 if they’re a child of the person who was killed. If a child has a disability, the payments may continue for longer. These payments are tax-free, but they could affect what support is available from Work and Income.
  • Up to 80% of the deceased’s income for the partner, children and any other relatives who were depending on the deceased if they were earning an income in New Zealand when they were killed. If a dependant lives overseas, they may be able to receive payments; the amount will depend on that person’s particular situation.

How to get support from ACC

If you were admitted to hospital, the medical staff will have made an ACC claim for you, and ACC will contact you soon.

If you have been injured are your family members has been injured, contact ACC by either:

  • Visiting the Christchurch branch:
    • BNZ Centre, Level 2
      101–111 Cashel St
      Christchurch
      8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • Phone: 0800 080 273 (international callers, phone +64 7859 8678)
  • Email: christchurchresponse@acc.co.nz

You can access this information on the ACC website by going to: www.acc.co.nz/about-us/news-media/latest-news/christchurch . The information is available in the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bahasa Malaysia
  • Bengali
  • Farsi Persian
  • Hindi
  • Indonesian
  • Urdu.

Costs that ACC won’t cover

ACC won’t cover the following costs:

  • the cost of treatment, rehabilitation, home help, transportation assistance or child-care if victim goes overseas (though weekly income support may still be paid)
  • the cost of lost earnings if the victim had earnings from overseas
  • the cost of childcare for children of the deceased aged over 14
  • the cost of mental health support or counselling for anyone who was not physically injured or traumatised while working (for example, mosque employees and emergency responders). This means that family members of those injured or killed or those who witnessed the attacks but were not injured are not entitled to mental health support or counselling under ACC.
Other organisations that will support Christchurch victims

You can call the free Government Helpline for help or more information on what support is available to you. Phone:

  • 0800 779 997 if you’re in New Zealand
  • +64 4 466 4698 if you’re overseas.

The line is open from 7am – 6pm, Monday to Friday and 8am – 1pm Saturday (NZ time).

You can also get information by emailing: support@msd.govt.nz

Financial help

Victim Support – financial help

Victim Support can provide some financial help for family members of someone who has died, people who were admitted to hospital following the attack, and their family members, and others who witnessed or were seriously affected by the attack.

Victim support can offer financial assistance of:

  • $15,000 for each family member killed
  • $5,000 for each person admitted to hospital
  • other grants for urgent costs resulting from the attacks (for example, funeral arrangements or family travel).

You don’t need to be a New Zealand citizen or resident to access this support. For more information, phone: 0800 842 846.

Social Security (Cash Assets and Income Exemptions – Christchurch Mosque Attack Support Payments) Amendment Regulations 2020

A support payment is not taken into account (is “exempt”) as income when Work and Income work out what you might get for temporary additional support or as an accommodation supplement (see the chapter “Dealing with Work and Income”, under “Types of benefits / Other benefits and allowances”).

Residential Care and Disability Support Services Exempt Assets (Christchurch Mosque Attack Support Payments) Amendment Regulations 2020

A support payment is also not taken into account when working out whether you qualify for financial support for long-term residential care.

Work and Income – financial help

Work and Income (WINZ) is the New Zealand government agency that pays welfare benefits and other financial support. It can help with:

  • urgent or unexpected essential costs, like food, bedding and travel costs within New Zealand
  • advance payments of a benefit of up to six weeks
  • an emergency benefit for people who don’t qualify for any other benefit
  • loss of income if your workplace is closed, or if you can’t travel to work or you need to stay with your whānau as a result of the attacks (this is a Civil Defence payment)
  • other costs if you can’t get home, or are providing a place for family or friends to stay, or need help with food or bedding because of the attacks (Civil Defence payment).

Any donations you receive won’t affect any financial support you receive from Work and Income for the next 12 months.

To find out more, you can email: support@msd.govt.nz and for more general information on dealing with Work and Income, see the chapter: “Dealing with Work and Income”.

Mental health support

Government funding for mental health treatment and support

The Government has promised that victims of the Christchurch terror attacks will be able to get mental health treatment and support, even if they were not physically injured. There have been reports that the government is considering broadening the definition of who is eligible for mental trauma funding. For now, ACC is working with other agencies, including the Canterbury District Health Board, to make sure people receive the mental health support they need.

We recommend contacting either the Christchurch branch of ACC or the Government helpline to find out what mental health assistance you may receive and how to access it.

  • Anyone can call or text 1737 (from a mobile) or call from a landline on 0800 1737 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor. This is a free, 24-hour service.
  • If you are a New Zealand resident of citizen you can visit your local doctor, though a fee may apply. If you are travelling from overseas this may be covered by your travel insurance.

Victim Support: Grief and trauma support

Victim Support can offer grief and trauma support for victims and their families.

They can help family members of someone who has died, people who were admitted to hospital following the attack, and their family members, and others who witnessed or were seriously affected by the attack.

You don’t need to be a New Zealand citizen or resident to access help from Victim Support. For more information, phone 0800 842 846.

Practical support

Victim Support can offer practical help – like completing forms, banking, and referrals to other services.

They can help family members of someone who has died, people who were admitted to hospital following the attack, and their family members, and others who witnessed or were seriously affected by the attack.

You don’t need to be a New Zealand citizen or resident to access this support. For more information, phone 0800 842 846.

Special visa category for people affected by Christchurch shootings and their families

Immigration New Zealand has created a permanent residence visa category specially for those directly affected by the shootings at the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood mosques, as well as their families. It’s called the “Christchurch Response 2019” category. This chapter includes a summary of this special category and who it covers: see “Christchurch shootings: People directly affected and their families”.

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