Reporting a crime abroad and getting help

What to do if you've been affected by crime abroad and how the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and others can help.

If you need immediate help, or fear for your safety, you should contact the emergency services in the country you’re in. You can find emergency numbers in travel advice.

In most countries, you must report the crime to the police before you leave the country if you want it to be investigated. You might also need to report the crime to make a claim on your travel insurance.

If you travelled abroad with a tour operator you should contact them for support, for example if you’ve been hospitalised or had possessions stolen or your accommodation broken into. They may also be able to arrange for someone to support you through the process of reporting the crime.

How the FCDO can help

If you experience a crime abroad, the support available and access to justice abroad depends on the processes and authorities in that country. The FCDO can help you to:

  • understand the local police customs and basic legal system
  • find an English-speaking lawyer or translator or interpreter 
  • access medical treatment or an English-speaking doctor, if available
  • contact your relatives and friends to let them know something has happened to you
  • liaise with your bank or insurer, where possible, and give you information about transferring money. For more information see emergency financial assistance abroad 

It will not be able to:

  • give you legal advice
  • collect evidence or investigate crimes
  • influence the outcome of any investigation or trial
  • give you financial help, for example for travel costs to a trial abroad or to replace stolen property
  • accept any lost or recovered stolen property, except for passports (which are cancelled and returned to HM Passport Office) and driving licences (which are returned to DVLA)

You can also read more detailed guidance if:

Contacting the FCDO

In the UK you can contact the FCDO for help and advice 24/7 on +44 (0) 20 7008 5000. 

In another country contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

If your belongings have been stolen

If your money, passport, bank cards or anything else valuable has been lost or stolen:

  • report it to the local police as soon as possible
  • ask the police for a statement about the loss or a crime report (you may need this for an insurance claim)
  • for stolen bank cards or traveller’s cheques, contact the issuers to let them know. Your bank may be able to give you a code that allows you to withdraw cash from an ATM without the card. You may also want to ask your bank or a relative to send money to you using a reliable money transfer company. Read more about getting financial assistance when abroad
  • you must report a lost or stolen passport immediately. You can apply to the FCDO for an emergency travel document if you’re abroad and cannot get a replacement passport in time for your planned travel

Reporting the crime when you return to the UK

When you return to the UK, you may want to report the crime to your local UK police, even if you did not report it in the country where it happened. UK police can send your information to the police in the country where the crime happened, but they cannot investigate it or tell foreign police to investigate it. Foreign police forces are under no obligation to open a case, particularly if the crime was not reported before you left the country, and may not take action. 

You may also want to report the crime to the UK police even if you do not want an investigation abroad, as the UK police can offer you access to victim support in the UK.

Help with going to court abroad

Some countries pay allowances and expenses to victims and witnesses who are called to give evidence in prosecutions abroad. If you’re asked to give evidence abroad, the court should tell you how to do this and who is financially responsible. 

Claiming on your travel insurance

If you’ve had items stolen or had to spend any money because of the crime, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to make a claim. You should also keep:

  • receipts of anything you bought to replace what was stolen
  • medical bills from hospitals or doctors
  • police reports

Read guidance from Citizens Advice about claiming on your travel insurance.

Compensation for violent crimes abroad

You may be able to apply for compensation if you’re a UK resident and have been injured because of a violent crime in another country. You usually need a police report to apply.

Other countries may also offer compensation. You can check with the local British embassy or consulate if this applies in your country and how to apply.

Getting support in the UK 

Victim support is available 24/7 from several organisations.

Find out how to get victim of crime support in England and Wales.

There is different guidance for victims of crime in Scotland and victims of crime in Northern Ireland.


The FCDO welcomes your views on the support it provides, to help identify what it does well and what it could do better. Contact the FCDO using the feedback contact form.


You can read the disclaimer relating to this guidance.

Published 31 August 2022
Last updated 16 November 2023 + show all updates
  1. Page has been restructured and reworded to better explain FCDO policy and the steps British nationals should take if they are the victim of crime abroad.

  2. First published.