Media release: Chief Victims Advisor calls for greater support for victims of crime

Findings from the New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey (NZCVS) show more needs to be done to prevent victimisation and re-victimisation, as well as support those who are harmed, says Chief Victims Advisor, Dr Kim McGregor.

The NZCVS, New Zealand’s most comprehensive survey on crime to date, was released this week and found almost half (47 percent) of crime incidents in the last 12 months were experienced by just four percent of adults.

“This tells us that we have a group of people in our country experiencing huge amounts of crime re-victimisation,” Dr McGregor says.

Dr McGregor says more needs to be done in prevention and early intervention efforts to stop people being harmed in the first place, and says there also needs to be accessible, specialist services and supports to assist people who have been victimised to avoid being re-victimised.

“As a society, we owe it to those who have been harmed to provide them with pro-active, tailored, wraparound supports specific to their needs – to not only help them to heal, but also to strengthen their future well-being,” Dr McGregor says.

“I was pleased to see that most survivors of family violence - 90 percent – were aware of support organisations available to them. Hearing that only 23 percent actually contacted these organisations, however, suggests we need to work on barriers to help-seeking.

“It is also an ongoing concern for me that just 23 percent of crime is reported to the Police. This suggests that we need to work on improving the criminal justice system from a victim’s perspective so that victims – survivors – feel confident they can report crime, receive the help they need to be made safe, and have their other justice needs met.”

The report found people aged 20-29 experienced 40 percent of crime; Māori were more likely to be victims of crime (37 percent) than the national average (29 percent); and those who struggle financially and with mental health were more likely to be victimised.

“Victims should not have a one-size fits all response. Knowing about those who are likely to be victimised means we can increase tailored intervention and prevention efforts to these groups.” The NZCVS is an annual report into the true nature of crime in New Zealand. More than 8,000 people over the age of 15 were interviewed face-to-face between March and October 2018 and asked about any incidents of crime they’d experienced in the previous 12 months.

The 148-page document is the first of three annual surveys costing $3.7 million in total. The next round of interviews for the 2020 report are already underway.