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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
Coordinating Victim Services
If the Victim Remains Abroad
If the Victim Returns to the United States
International Terrorism
Crime Victim Compensation
Checklists for Assisting U.S. Citizens Victimized Abroad

About This Guide


The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) would like to acknowledge the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, for lending its expertise and assistance to the preparation of this resource guide. In particular, OVC appreciates the contributions of Edward A. Betancourt, Director of Policy Review and Interagency Liaison, and Victim Assistance Specialist Jane N. Sigmon, Ph.D., throughout the preparation of this publication.

This resource guide would not have been possible without the support of Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) administrators, Steve Derene of the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators, Dan Eddy of the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards, and victim advocates from across the country. OVC values their contributions and ongoing commitment to serving U.S citizens who are victims of crime, wherever they are in the world.

OVC also would like to acknowledge the work of its Training and Technical Assistance Center in the development and production of this publication.

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Purpose of This Publication

This resource guide is designed for domestic service providers, allied professionals, volunteers, and victim advocates who work on behalf of U.S. citizens who have been victimized abroad. Because many victim service providers in the United States only occasionally handle cases with an international element, this resource guide seeks to enhance awareness and understanding of the exceptional circumstances these victims encounter. It will also present the obstacles domestic service providers might meet and help them prepare to respond swiftly to alleviate the stress and confusion victims might feel.

Drawing on the experience and insights of consular officers, with a deep comprehension of the laws, cultures, languages, and services of host countries, this resource guide presents the expertise of victim service providers in the United States who support victims as they cope with the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of a crime.

This publication can provide useful information to those who plan, coordinate, and implement comprehensive services, and it can guide victim service providers as they assist—

  • U.S. citizens and surviving family members and legal guardians.

  • Officers and employees of the U.S. Government, their family members, and legal guardians.

  • U.S. emergency personnel who assist victims of international crime.

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Using This Publication

This publication is based on a review of resources sponsored by federal agencies, state governments, nonprofit organizations, and other groups working on behalf of U.S. citizens who are victims of crime overseas.

Although the information contained in this resource guide is substantive and practical, it cannot address every circumstance or concern a victim service provider might encounter when responding to the needs of U.S. citizens who are victimized abroad. Nor can this resource guide detail all the laws, criminal procedures, and cultural variables a victim of crime might encounter in every country overseas.

Nevertheless, this resource guide illustrates some of the challenges and obstacles that U.S. citizens face when they are victimized overseas and is a valuable starting point for victim service providers to begin understanding the opportunities and options they have for identifying and delivering pertinent and timely assistance.

The easy-to-navigate format allows victim service providers to proceed through the resource guide at their own pace and return to any section, at any time, to review information. Within this publication, links to electronic resources are highlighted for quick and direct access to key information.

The Web addresses and contact information featured in this resource guide were valid at the time it was produced, but the material is subject to change. Victim service providers are encouraged to return to these resources frequently for the most up-to-date information.

OVC neither endorses, has any responsibility for, nor exercises any control over the organizations' views or the accuracy of the information contained in electronic resources outside of OVC's Web site.

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