Christchurch mosque attacks survivor outraged over Victim Support spending

A survivor of the Christchurch mosque attacks is outraged money raised for the victims is not being used to help people cope with the trauma they suffered.

Abdul Aziz may have saved dozens of lives when he chased off the gunman at the Linwood mosque.

But he says the psychological injuries he and other victims were left with are being ignored, despite millions being raised.

Aziz was in court to see the alleged terrorist who tore his world apart on March 15.

"All the memories come back especially when you see that coward sitting there and just laughing, you boil your blood," he says.

But what's also giving Aziz grief is the disbursement of the millions raised in wake of the terror attacks.

"They're giving money to only the injured and the deceased," he says.

Aziz now sleeps no more than three hours a night. He risked his life throwing an Eftpos machine at the gunman and then threatened him, causing the alleged offender to flee the scene and saving dozens of lives.

He says everybody inside and outside the two mosques that day are victims.

"Victims should not be categorised - victims are victims," he says. "Outside wound you can see, inside wounds you cannot see."

He wants the Government to check all the money raised by the different groups and see where it is going.

"Those people donated the money, they got the right to know where is their money going to."

So far, Victim Support has already distributed:

  • $45,000 to next-of-kin of the deceased
  • $25,000 to victims physically injured during the attacks
  • And $12,000 to other victims present at the two mosques at the time of the attacks

Christchurch lawyer Andrew Oh is helping a group of victims, and is looking overseas at what happened following the Boston bombings and the Grenfell tower tragedy in London.

"Both those cases they didn't benefit the traumatised, they pretty much focused on deceased families and injured," he says.

Oh believes Victim Support New Zealand hasn't got it quite right.

"My issue is that we need to make sure that those people who are significantly impacted by this benefit the most and I'm just not quite sure we've got that right with Victim Support at the moment."

Victim Support says there's a range of views in the community about how the funds should be distributed.

It's just finished an engagement process to hear the victims' views, and it's now considering that feedback before it makes its final payments at the end of June.


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