Experiencing crime abroad can be distressing on many levels. As well as coping with the impact of the crime itself, you also have to deal with the police and judicial systems of the country where the crime took place. This can make reporting a crime abroad challenging.

Some crimes will have a direct impact on your travel itinerary or plans. For example, the theft of credit cards, your mobile phone or travel documents can create further disruption and anxiety. It could also lead to difficulties with local payments.

There are also language differences to cope with. If you’ve been injured or need an examination you may have to communicate with medical staff in a language other than your own. You may need to use an interpreter, or find was to translate documents or information.

There are a number of things you can do if you think you’ve been the victim of crime while abroad.

Write it down

While you’re away, make a note of:

  • what happened
  • where you reported the crime
  • names, contact numbers, and rank of who you spoke to.

These details will help if you need to make an insurance claim or give evidence in court.

Notify your bank

  • Ask your bank to freeze or cancel any cards affected.
  • If necessary, arrange a cash transfer.

Contact the British embassy, high commission or consulate

If your passport or identity papers are stolen, contact the local British embassy, high commission or consulate as soon as possible.

Note medical staff

Get the names and contact details of any medical staff you have contact with.

Holiday and travel fraud has increased dramatically recently. Fraud can happen both when you’re booking your holiday or travel, and while you are abroad.

For more information and advice read our guidance on fraud. You can also sign up for a free My Support Space account, which has interactive guides on fraud, as well as other types of crime.

If you experience crime while on a cruise ship, there are a number of things you should be aware of.

Cruise ships need to be registered but often this is to a ‘flag of convenience’ country. This means the ship may be registered to a country where the laws and standards are very different to those of the United Kingdom.

In other words, a cruise ship is unknown foreign territory. In addition, most of a cruise will take place in international waters, outside a port’s jurisdiction.

Cruise ships do not tend to have law enforcement staff on board. They will usually have security officers who work for the cruise company, and may have little or no training in dealing with crime.

Not all crimes are even reported by the crew to the flag country’s or local port’s police. When crimes are reported, the investigation might be very brief and informal, even after a very serious offence.

If you’ve been a victim of a crime on board a cruise ship, Victim Support can offer you help and support when you return to England or Wales.

Victim Support can give you the support and information you need to move forward after crime.

It’s normal to experience a range of emotions, such as distress, grief, anxiety or self-blame, after a crime has taken place. These feelings might not go away after you return to the UK and may even get worse.

However you’re feeling or whenever the crime took place, you can talk to us in complete confidence. We can help, whether or not you reported the crime to the local police.

Most people who are affected by crime want to talk to someone about what’s happened and how they’re feeling. Friends and family can be very helpful, but our staff are specially trained to listen and understand. We can also give useful information to help you deal with some of the problems a crime has caused.

If you’ve been bereaved after a homicide abroad, our Homicide Service team can give you the specialist support and information you’ll need.

The Homicide Service can provide a range of support and help you to navigate this distressing and complex situation.

Our leaflet Support in England and Wales for families bereaved through murder and manslaughter abroad [PDF] offers more information.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office also has information and advice.

Please note: With certain exceptions provided by our Homicide Service, Victim Support cannot commission services abroad or help with travelling expenses to the country where the offence took place.

If you’re a foreign tourist or visitor and have experienced crime in London, you can get support from our International Visitors Victims service.

All our services are available to visitors to England and Wales for the duration of your time here. However, our services are only available in England and Wales, so we cannot continue to give support after your return home to another country.

For support:  +44 (0)203 948 0330  (8am-8pm Monday-Fridays)
Mobile/SMS:  +44 (0)7931 866 786 (8am-8pm Monday-Fridays)
Email: International.Visitors@victimsupport.org.uk (8am-8pm Monday-Fridays)

If you’ve been affected by a crime abroad you can get in touch by:

You can also create a free account on My Support Space – an online resource with interactive guides to help you manage the impact crime has had on you.

If English is not your first language and you’d like support, call our Supportline and let us know which language you speak. We’ll call you back with an interpreter as soon as possible. We also welcome calls via Relay UK and SignLive (BSL).

Families and friends affected by crime can also contact us for support and information. If you’re a child or young person under 18 and are looking for support, visit our children and young people website for information and tips.