Christchurch attack: Victims to be part of study about trauma after terror

Victims of the March 15 Christchurch mosque attack are set to be part of a study around trauma after terror. 

The study will catalogue their progress and connect them with support networks.

Otago University Associate Professor Caroline Bell says the interviews they conduct will be thorough

"We're also able to conduct this in multiple languages," she told Newshub. "We've had everything translated."

She says the horrors victims faced will likely stay with them for the rest of their lives.

After conducting some interviews later this year, Bell told Newshub she hopes to repeat the interviews in three and five years. 

"We're hoping that we can ask people how they are now but longer-term impacts of how people track overtime is also really important."

Fifty-one people died and 49 were injured in the March 15 shootings when a gunman opened fire at two of the city's mosques. Bell said the study will dive deep.

Last year's national memorial service to remember the victims.
Last year's national memorial service to remember the victims. Photo credit: Newshub.

She said many families are struggling with both psychological and physical trauma. 

"It's not just asking people how they are and going away," she said. "We're hopeful that we can connect them with [the] support that may be helpful."

Last month, a national remembrance service was announced for the first anniversary of the attacks.

Those most affected are putting together the programme for the service in Christchurch's Hagley Park. In December, Christchurch City Mayor Lianne Dalziel told Radio New Zealand the first anniversary will be a difficult time for those who were impacted.

In an interview with Newshub late last year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern opened up about the toll the terror attacks had on the country. It was labelled New Zealand's "darkest day".

The accused gunman earlier pleaded not guilty to all charges and will go on trial in June.