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Resource Guide for Serving U.S. Citizens Victimized Abroad
Publication Date:  April 2008
Victim Services: An International Outlook
minus iconResponding to Victimization Abroad
minus iconCoordinating Victim Services
minus iconIf the Victim Remains Abroad
minus iconIf the Victim Returns to the United States
minus iconInternational Terrorism
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Checklists for Assisting U.S. Citizens Victimized Abroad

Victim Services: An International Outlook

Special Needs of U.S. Citizens Victimized Abroad

Although most U.S. citizens do not become victims of crime while in a foreign country, crimes against them and other international visitors take place daily and worldwide.

When a U.S. citizen becomes the victim of a crime overseas, he or she might suffer physical, emotional, or financial injuries. In addition, the emotional impact of the crime can be intensified because the victim is in unfamiliar surroundings. The victim also may not be near sources of comfort or support, fluent in the local language, or knowledgeable about local laws and customs.

U.S. citizens victimized abroad are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of crime because of—

  • Isolation.

  • Culture shock.

  • Language barriers.

  • Travel stress.

  • Lack of familiar social supports.

In addition, most international visitors are unfamiliar with the laws; criminal justice system; social, medical, and mental health services; or the procedures that must be followed to apply for and access any available benefits of the country they are visiting.


U.S. Department of State
Help for American Victims of Crime Overseas

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Central Intelligence Agency
The World Factbook