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Message From the DirectorAbout This GuideResources
Resource Guide for Serving U.S. Citizens Victimized Abroad
Publication Date:  April 2008
Victim Services: An International Outlook
Responding to Victimization Abroad
minus iconCoordinating Victim Services
minus iconIf the Victim Remains Abroad
minus iconIf the Victim Returns to the United States
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Checklists for Assisting U.S. Citizens Victimized Abroad

Responding to Victimization Abroad

Important First Steps

In most cases, if U.S. citizens become victims of crime abroad, they should immediately—

  • Contact local police to report the incident.

  • Obtain help regarding safety concerns.

  • Request a copy of the local police report.

  • Contact the nearest U.S. embassy, consulate, or consular agency for assistance.

If a victim or domestic service provider contacts a U.S. embassy directly over a weekend, he or she should be aware that personnel might reply that the embassy is closed. In such cases, the caller should report the call as an emergency and ask to be connected with a consular officer. Every embassy or consulate has a 24/7 duty program. A victim or domestic service provider should make clear that he or she needs to speak to the duty officer and, if available, a consular duty officer.

Government officials, consuls, or consular officers at embassies and consulates in nearly 250 cities throughout the world are responsible for assisting U.S. citizens who may be traveling, working, or residing overseas. In addition, consular agents and local employees work in 50 additional cities to provide emergency and nonemergency assistance to U.S. citizens.

To expedite assistance to victims, the Office of Overseas Citizens Services acts as a liaison between U.S. embassies or consulates and victim service providers. With its substantial resources and understanding of embassy operations across the globe, the Office of Overseas Citizens Services is committed to assisting U.S. citizens who become victims of crime while traveling, working, or residing abroad. It is the recommended first point of contact and a valuable partner for victim service providers.


U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services
888-407-4747 (8 a.m.–8 p.m. e.t.)
202-647-5225 (all other times)