More support for victims of crime needed amid increase in shootings - advocate

A community advocate, who recently visited a friend with bullet holes through her home, is calling for better support for victims of crime.

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Shirl's Fruean says there's not enough support until someone dies. Source: Breakfast

Shirl'e Fruean this morning told Breakfast there's not enough support until someone dies by homicide.

It comes amid a spate of shootings throughout Auckland and Waikato over the past few weeks.

"I grew up in these neighbourhoods, I'm a product of this environment and I've seen what goes on in the community and I've visited those victims and I've gone in and sat down with them," Fruean said.

"I've seen the bullets, the bullet holes in their curtains, I've seen it on their walls and just hearing the lack of support from them, the fact that they have no access to information, it's really quite sad.

"I realise that there isn't any support for them out there. It's not until someone passes away or from homicide, that's when you know something will be done so it's really heartbreaking."

Fruean said she'd heard from a victim whose house was shot at last week who said police's Victim Support gave her her keys back the next day "and left her to deal with everything on her own".

"It's been a week since, nobody's visited her," she said.

Fruean said she visited the friend to give her some kai, a hug and contacts for help, who was shocked someone cared.

But she warned that anyone could become a victim of crime and that it is "extremely scary" for those who do.

"It's traumatising and the fact that there's nobody that they can reach out to, or the fact of they don't know how to access information."

Shirl'e Fruean. Source: 1 NEWS

So now Fruean said she was trying to connect the Māngere community to activate neighbourhood support, patrol the streets and try install more lights and cameras to make the area safer.

But Auckland Councillor Efeso Collins, also on Breakfast this morning, said "the missing link" was that social providers in the area and police's Victim Support needed to come together and co-ordinate better.

"It causes us great concern," he said.

"It's important that when these things happen to locals that the information is forwarded immediately and unfortunately it's easy to isolate, you get a little bit scared and that's natural, that's just a natural reaction to what's going on.

"So what we need here is the presence of connection, we need people connected."

However, in a written response to questions this afternoon, Victim Support general manager Cam Cotter told 1 NEWS to the best of his knowledge the agency had not received contact from either Fruean or Collins regarding their concerns or with an invitation to attend a hui.

"A shooting is a serious incident that can leave victims not only traumatised but feeling unsafe in their home," he said.

"It is standard operating procedure for police to offer referral to Victim Support after a serious crime and Victim Support are working closely with police and victims affected by the recent shootings."

Cotter explained that a Victim Support worker is someone who a victim can talk with as they cope with trauma, as well as to help them to connect with other services in the community.

"Victims would deal with police for issues around the physical safety of themselves or their home," he added.

"We are continuing to monitor these incidents and provide support as referrals are received."

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