The police will investigate the death and a senior detective will usually lead the investigation. Police will also assign a victim liaison officer to your family. This officer will make sure you know what is happening throughout the investigation and the court case.
During the investigation, police may interview members of your family and other people, as well as gather evidence like photos and forensic tests.
The police may need to keep some personal items belonging to the deceased or seal your home while they gather evidence. You may be able to get financial assistance if your house or car has been cordoned off by police or if they need professional cleaning. Talk to your victim liaison officer about this.
Read more about how police collect evidence.
Laying charges and going to court
If the police have enough evidence, they will arrest the person and charge them with a criminal offence. After the person has been charged they are called the defendant.
The prosecutor will decide whether the defendant should be brought to court to face the charge(s). This is called the decision to prosecute.
After the defendant's first court appearance, a court victim advisor will get in touch with you. It is their job to keep you informed about the progresss of the case and what part you can play.
The prosecutor will also meet with you and your family/whānau to explain the prosecution process and any decisions to change the charge.