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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.

It’s a good idea to contact ACC if you think you may need their support – 0800 101 996

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.

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
      8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • Phone: 0800 101 996 (international callers, phone +64 7 848 7400)
  • Email: christchurchresponse@acc.co.nz

You can access this information on the ACC website, here (or go to acc.co.nz and search “Support available to victims of Christchurch terror attack”)

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.

Financial help

Victim Support – financial help

Social Security (Cash Assets and Income Exemptions – Christchurch Mosque Attack Support Payments) Amendment Regulations 2020 Residential Care and Disability Support Services Exempt Assets (Christchurch Mosque Attack Support Payments) Amendment Regulations 2020

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.

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: “Other benefits and allowances”.

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).

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

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Accident compensation (ACC)

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)

ACC’s website provides information to help you navigate the ACC system. It includes information on the claims process, possible entitlements and how to resolve an issue with ACC.

Website: www.acc.co.nz

General questions 
Email: information@acc.co.nz
Phone: 04 816 7400
Claims helpline: 0800 101 996

Sensitive claims
Email: sensitiveclaims@acc.co.nz
Phone: 0800 735 566
Free therapy services for sensitive claims: www.findsupport.co.nz

Deaf services email: deaf@acc.co.nz

Language and cultural services phone:  0800 101 996

Request your personal information:  www.acc.co.nz/contact/request-for-personal-information

Way Finders

Way Finders is a free nationwide independent service that can provide you with general or specific advice about ACC and help you navigate the system.

Website: www.wayfinders.org.nz 
Email: info@wayfinders.org.nz
Phone: 0800 273 030

Talk Meet Resolve (TMR)

Talk Meet Resolve is a free independent nationwide service that can assist you in resolving your dispute with ACC.

Website: www.talkmeetresolve.co.nz
Email: info@talkmeetresolve.co.nz
Phone: 0800 119 221

Complete the webform: www.talkmeetresolve.co.nz/contact

Medical Council of NZ

The Medical Council of New Zealand is responsible for ensuring doctors are competent and fit to practise. The website contains a register of practising doctors.

Website: www.mcnz.org.nz

Health and Disability Commissioner

The Health and Disability Commissioner website sets out your rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights and how you can make a complaint to the Commissioner.

Website: www.hdc.org.nz
Email: hdc@hdc.co.nz
Phone: 0800 119 221

To make a complaint online: www.hdc.org.nz/making-a-complaint/make-a-complaint-to-hdc

Privacy Commissioner

The Privacy Commissioner website provides information about your rights and responsibilities under the Privacy Act 2020 and the Privacy Principles. It also outlines the role of the Privacy Commissioner and how to make a privacy complaint.

Website: www.privacy.org.nz
Email: enquiries@privacy.org.nz
Phone: 0800 803 909

To make a complaint online: www.privacy.org.nz/your-rights/making-a-complaint

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