The State Department is committed to assisting U.S. citizens who become victims of crime while abroad. We help in two ways:
- Overseas: consular officers, agents, and staff work with crime victims and help them with the local police and medical systems.
- In the United States: our office of Overseas Citizens Services will stay in touch with family members in the United States, and help provide U.S.-based resources for the victim when possible.
If you are the victim of a crime overseas:
- Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate: Consular officers are available for emergency assistance 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
- Contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas can be found here or by going to our individual Country Specific Information pages.
- To contact the Department of State in the U.S. call 1-888-407-4747 (from the U.S. or Canada) or (202) 501-4444 (from overseas).
- Contact the local police to report the incident and get immediate help. Request a copy of the police report.
Consular Assistance to U.S. Citizen Victims of Crime
When a U.S. citizen is the victim of a crime overseas, he or she may suffer from physical, emotional or financial injuries. It can be more difficult because the victim may be in unfamiliar surroundings, and may not know the local language or customs.
How We Can Help:
- Replace a lost or stolen passport
- Contact family, friends, or employers with written permission, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974
- Provide information to facilitate access to appropriate medical care
- Address emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime
- Explain financial assistance options, such as assistance available to return to the United States
- Provide information about local points of contact or organizations who discuss relevant host country laws and implementation of those laws
- Share information about the status of your case in the local criminal justice process when applicable
- Connect you to overseas and U.S.-based resources for victims of crime, if available
- Provide a list of local lawyers who speak English
- Investigate crimes
- Provide legal advice or represent you in court
- Serve as official interpreters or translators
- Pay legal, medical, or other expenses for you
Resources and Information for Crime Victims upon Return to the United States:
Some U.S. cities and communities offer programs to help residents who are victims of overseas crime, including:
- Rape crisis counseling programs
- Shelter and counseling programs for battered women
- Support groups and bereavement counseling for family members and friends of murder victims
- Diagnostic and treatment programs for child abuse victims
- Assistance for victims of drunk driving crashes
All U.S. states provide victim compensation programs, however only some states offer benefits to residents who are victims of violent crime overseas. Most compensation programs require the victim to file a report at the time of the incident, and to provide a copy with the application. Programs include financial assistance to pay for:
- Medical costs, including counseling
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Lost income or loss of support
- Expenses related to the repatriation of remains
Information about each state’s compensation program and how to apply for benefits is available from the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards.
Contact Information for Victim Assistance Programs:
DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Department of State assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the organizations whose names appear below. This referral does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of the U.S. Department of State.
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)– Toll-free 24/7 hotline for sexual assault counseling and referrals: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). RAINN also offers a hotline that provides live, secure, anonymous crisis support for victims of sexual violence, their friends, and familiies over RAINN’s website. The Online Hotline is free of charge and is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week!
- U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women– Information about local sexual assault victim assistance coalitions.
- International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies– Global list of abuse hotlines, shelters, refuges, crisis centers and women’s organizations, plus domestic violence information in over 90 languages.NOTE: The agencies and organizations listed on this international directory have not been vetted by the U.S. Department of State or other federal agency.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline– Toll-free 24/7 hotline for crisis counseling and referrals: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
- U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women– Information about local domestic violence victim assistance coalitions.
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence– The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers a safe home and shelter programs, public education, and technical assistance. They also have a list of state and international organizations that can assist domestic violence victims. 303-839-1852
Families and Friends of Murder Victims
Victims and Families of Drunk Driving Crashes
General Victim Assistance
- U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime– Contact information for non-emergency services in communities throughout U.S.
- National Crime Victim Center– Information for crime victims on the impact of crime, safety planning, legal rights and civil legal remedies, and options for assistance and referrals to local programs.
- National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA)– Toll-free hotline available Monday-Friday 9am-5pm EST for information and referral to victim assistance programs: 1-800-TRY-NOVA