Supporting families affected by attacks: 'It doesn't stop here'

5:07 pm on 26 March 2019

In a quiet corner of Christchurch, a Victim Support hub has been set up to coordinate the operation to support families affected by the mosque terror attacks.

Kala Teale is a Victim Support worker

Victim Support worker Kala Teale Photo: RNZ / Joanna MacKenzie

RNZ was asked to keep the location of the operation centre secret because the work they were doing was so sensitive.

The team meets at 8am everyday to talk through the plan for the day and organise help that is needed by families who have lost loved ones.

Families have so far received more than $800,000 in financial support from the organisation.

Support worker Kala Teale has been working with a number of families, supporting them in their homes to try to ease the burden that has fallen upon them.

"A lot is food, travel, rental, car rental, counselling, support around their personal family and their needs," she said.

"Flights to support family members that meet our criteria and some families have repatriated so we've worked along with families to support them with different funeral directors as well."

Ms Teale said all workers had received training and advice on how to help the Muslim community.

"We're very, very mindful of this tough time for them and their grieving processes," she said.

"For myself, I will ask the family that I'm working for their guidance. I'll be guided by them so we don't offend [but] work within their beliefs, their grieving time to make this process as easy as we can for them and get the right support for them.

"We always check, it's not good to presume," Ms Teale said.

While there was an intense period of work in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Victim Support would continue to work with the Muslim community in the coming months and years.

"We will work with the families for as long as they need us. We're guided by them and we hear their needs and we will work along with them."

"It doesn't stop here. We do work through and we have work to do through the judicial process," said Kala Teale.

More than 93,000 people have donated nearly $8.7m to the Victim Support givealitte fund.

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