When a crime occurs in a foreign country, victims might face difficulty returning home, reaching family members, or having their families reach them. Guided by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Overseas Citizens Services, consular officers at embassies can provide practical assistance for these and other obstacles to help victims regain their sense of safety and control after a crime. Consular officers might do the following:
- Help the victim contact family, friends, or employers.
- Provide, in some cases, a loan if the victim's money was stolen.
- Assist with locating different lodging, if necessary.
- Arrange for translation services.
U.S.-based service providers should understand the following issues:
- Consular officers have many additional responsibilities and might have contact with a victim only one time.
- Different time zones and the host government’s observation of national holidays can affect responses to victims' needs.
- Legal and cultural procedures can differ significantly from procedures that are common and expected of U.S. victim service providers.
Victim assistance specialists at the Office of Overseas Citizens Services can help U.S.-based victim service providers determine the types of assistance victims need while still overseas, such as translation services, hotel accommodations, telephone access, or transportation. They can also help service providers plan for the assistance victims might need to return to the United States, such as airline travel or season-appropriate clothing.
The Office of Overseas Citizens Services helps provide guidance and recommendations to domestic victim service agencies on comprehensive plans to assist individual victims and their families.
U.S. Department of State
Emergency Financial Assistance for U.S. Citizens Abroad