Today, U.S. citizens travel and live in virtually every part of the world. More than 60 million Americans go abroad each year and approximately 3 million Americans study, work, or reside in foreign lands. Unfortunately, some of these people become victims of crime while far from home. Language barriers, cultural differences, unfamiliar laws, a different criminal justice system, and distance from family and other support systems compound the devastating toll victimization exacts.
Internationally, policies and practices that address these victims' needs are still evolving. As U.S. citizens go abroad in greater numbers, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) anticipates that requests for assistance will escalate as well.
Being victimized while abroad may be more devastating because the victims are away from familiar settings, family members, and medical providers who speak their native language. Victim service providers in this country have a tremendous opportunity to enhance the services U.S. citizens are eligible for and receive abroad. This resource guide will help victim service providers develop strategic plans and carry out constructive actions to ensure key personnel, resources, and protocols are in place for effective response.
The information and essential resources featured here underscore OVC's belief that responding to victims of crime with timely, compassionate, coordinated, and valuable assistance need not be constrained by geographic boundaries.
John W. Gillis
Office for Victims of Crime