Homicide stats hit 40-year low

By Regan Paranihi

Yesterday, New Zealand Police released the figures for homicides in 2017.  38 homicides were registered, the lowest figure in 40 years.

Victim Support Chief Executive Kevin Tso says families are still facing the trauma of homicide despite the declining rate.

Victim Support data shows 1,617 people bereaved by homicide in 2017/18, down from 1,707 the year prior, and 1,989 in 2015/16.

Tso says, "It's important to remember that every homicide leaves many victims.  Behind each death is a family and community scarred."

Losing someone to homicide can leave those in mourning with a set of reactions which include isolation, shock, anger, blame, guilt, betrayal, denial and feelings of hopelessness and revenge.

"To lose a loved one to homicide is one the most devastating losses anyone can experience, and its impact lasts a lifetime," says Tso.

Many bereaved survivors struggle to make sense of the loved one's death as many homicides occur within family violence situations.

“Families face stress and revictimisation through the lengthy and confusing court process, where they often feel they are on trial themselves."

Victim Support provides specialist homicide support workers to support people affected by homicide, a service available 24 hours a day, all around New Zealand.

Support workers provide wide-ranging practical and emotional support for victims, often working with the family for years after a homicide, supporting them to navigate the immediate aftermath, arrest, trial, appeals, sentencing, parole and beyond.