More than 500 people receive support following Chch attack

By Jessica Tyson

So far more than 500 people have contacted Victims Support for help following the Christchurch terror attack.

Chief Executive Kevin Tso of Victim Support says people have made contact by calling the charity’s phone line 0800842846.

He says over $800,000 from Victim Support has been paid directly to victims so far.

The funds come from the more than $9mil donated to Victim Support via a givelittle page, as well as funds provided on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

Tso says it has been used to cover a wide range of financial needs including cash grants, individual and family travel, accommodation, repatriation and funeral expenses.

“This will continue to grow particularly as families enter New Zealand,” says Tso.

This week support services are focused on ensuring families know how to access the help they need to rebuild their lives.

A Canterbury District Health Board spokesperson says, since the attack on March 15 government agencies have been on the ground working with Christchurch City Council, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Muslim community, "to ensure they’re supported to lead the recovery response for their community.” 

A text line, 1737, has also been set up for people feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

The spokeswoman says so far 6,377 call and texts have been made to the service. 

Up until Monday this week, 475 sessions were provided by staff to those needing help following the attack.

“They continue to hear from people who are distressed after watching the live stream videos and encourage anyone in need of support from a trained counsellor to call or text anytime.”