Victims of Crime

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.

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.  Consular officers, consular agents, and local employees at overseas posts know local government agencies and resources in the country where they work.

We can help:

  • Replace a stolen passport
  • Contact family, friends, or employers
  • Obtain appropriate medical care
  • Address emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime
  • Explain the local criminal justice process
  • Obtain information about your case
  • Connect you to local and U.S.-based resources to assist victims of crime
  • Obtain information about any local and U.S. victim compensation programs available
  • Provide a list of local lawyers who speak English

We cannot:

  • Investigate crimes
  • Provide legal advice or represent you in court
  • Serve as official interpreters or translators
  • Pay legal, medical, or other fees for you

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.

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.

Sexual Assault: 

  • 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 families 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.

Domestic Violence:

  • 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 domeestic violence victims.  303-839-1852
  • Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center – The center serves abused Americans, mostly women and children, in both civilian and military populations overseas. The 24/7 international crisis hotline 1-866-USWOMEN (1-866-879-6636) can be called toll free from overseas.
  • 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.

Families and Friends of Murder Victims:

Victims and Families of Drunk Driving Crashes:

General Victim Assistance:

Overseas Resources:

  • Victim Assistance On-line – Information about victim assistance programs in approximately 20 countries.
  • 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.

Local Resources and Information for Crime Victims:

If you have been a victim of crime, it is very important that you report it to the authorities. If you do so, it is more likely that the person who committed the crime is caught, made accountable and prevented from doing it again, either to you or to others. Besides, reporting it may be essential for you to be able to exercise some rights related to insurance and compensation claims, for example.

Reports can be made to the following authorities:

  • Ministério Público (MP) [Public Prosecutor’s Office]
  • Polícia Judiciária (PJ) [Judiciary Police]
  • Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP) [Public Security Police]
  • Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) [National Republican Guard]

These authorities have the duty to receive any report presented to them, even if the crime has not been committed in their territory.

Reporting the crime or complaint is free-of-charge and can be made verbally or in writing, not requiring any formal process. It should include as many details as possible to make the investigation easier: day, time, place and circumstances in which the crime was committed, who is(are) the suspect(s), if known, who are the witnesses and any other evidence.

The victim reporting a crime has the right to receive a statement showing that the complaint was registered, that is, a document confirming that the complaint was made, the type of crime, the date and place of the crime and what was the harm caused. If the victims do not speak Portuguese, they have the right to receive this statement in their language or in one they can understand.

When you report the crime, you should provide an address in your country of residence where you can receive mail, which ensures that the Court can communicate with you.

In Portugal the PSP has three Tourism Police Stations (Esquadras do Turismo) that are specialized in receiving crime reports by tourists who are victims of crime. These stations are staffed with police officers knowing different languages so that communication with victims who don’t understand Portuguese is possible. Please see below were these Tourism Police Stations are located:

Tourism Police Station –  Lisboa: 213421623;  Porto: 222081833;  Cascais: 214863929

Victims who reside in another European Union country can report the crime in the authorities of their country of residence, that is, they do not necessarily have to report the crime to the Portuguese authorities.

Please contact the Portuguese Association for Victims Support   Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vitima

VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Victims can go  to  The National Legal Medicine Institute located in Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto, or its representative office located at hospitals in other cities of the country to be examined by a physician, get  treatment and evidence gathering.  The victims can report the rape to this medical unit, so that she does not need to go to the police either before or after her medical examination.

For immediate medical assistance please dial 112 or request someone near you to dial. 112 is an emergency number that is available all year around the clock. Calls are free. The operator will request information about the incident and will ask you to provide contact info. Please click on the link for additional emergency numbers National emergency contacts

WHAT THE VICTIM SHOULD DO ?

  • Avoid taking shower or wash any parts of the body until you are examined by a physician or an expert. Avoid using the toilette.
  • Gather all the evidence left after the assault: your clothing, objects, as well as other objects that might belong to the offender.  Keep everything with you without washing it, in a paper bag.
  • Contact the Judiciary police. Investigators have specialized training to deal with victims of sexual assault.
  • Go to an hospital or to the regional office of the National Legal Medicine Institute.  Take all evidence with you.
  • Evidence of an assault in your body, clothing or objects may be a very important means of evidence in case you decide to file a complaint.
  • Medical support has advantages for the victim:  Allows collecting evidence of the physical consequences of the criminal act;   allows the medical evaluation of the situation resulting from the crime, which may determine the need for special care, treatment or particular examinations.

U.S.  EMBASSY CONTACT

Avenida das Forcas Armadas
1600-081 Lisboa
Telefone: 351 217 273 300
Fax: 351 217 269 109
EMAIL: conslisbon@state.gov

Schedule:
Monday to Friday: 8:30 to 12:30 and  3:30 to 17:30 pm (except local or American holidays)
After hours contact:    351 217 273 300  

CONSULATE PONTA DELGADA

Príncipe de Mónaco, 6-2 F
9500-237 Ponta Delgada
Phone:  351 296 308 330
Fax:       351 296 287 216
Email: ConsPontaDelgada@state.gov

Schedule:
Monday to Friday: 8:30 to 12:30 and  13:30 to 17:30pm (except local or American holidays)
After hours contact:    351 217 273 300