Reporting a crime

Most trips abroad are trouble free. But if you or someone travelling with you is unlucky enough to be the victim of a crime, here’s what you should do.


  • Make a list of all the items that are stolen and then report the theft to the local police as soon as possible.
  • Make sure you get a police report (insist on this if necessary) as you will need this for any travel insurance or compensation claim.
  • If you’ve had any credit cards or travellers cheques stolen cancel these immediately and if your travel tickets have been taken re-book these straight away.
  • If your passport has been stolen contact the nearest British Embassy, commission or consulate to report the loss and apply for a replacement.  You can find out more on how to do this on the website.

For more on how to keep your money, passport and credit cards safe and what to do if they’re stolen, see our guide.


  • Report the assault to the local police as soon as possible and insist on making a police report. If you’ve been injured and need emergency medical care you will need this report to make a claim on your travel insurance.
  • Contact the nearest British Embassy, commission or consulate especially if you’ve been admitted to hospital or arrested.
  • If you have been arrested British Embassy staff aim to contact you within 24 hours and visit you as soon as possible if you want help. They can provide you with a list of lawyers, doctors and interpreters if necessary.
  • If you are in hospital British Embassy staff aim to contact you within 24 hours of being told you are there and visit you as soon as possible. They can help liaise with your insurance company over medical bills and help you with any language difficulties.

Rape or sexual assault

  • Talk to someone about this immediately such as a friend, relative or your nearest British Embassy, commission or consulate.
  • British Embassy staff can tell you about local police and legal procedures. What they won’t do is help you decide if you want to report the crime to the police or take legal action. You will have to make this decision and your decision is likely to be based on the circumstances and the country you’re in. Bear in mind that if you don’t report the crime straight away valuable forensic and other evidence may be lost. And in some countries, if you don’t report the crime before returning to the UK they will not investigate.
  • If you do decide to report the crime British Embassy staff will, where possible, go to the police station with you. They can also arrange interpreters, medical examinations and lawyers for you and contact your family.

The government has produced a useful guide with information on how to get medical attention and legal advice when you return to the UK.

Missing persons

If someone you’re travelling with goes missing and you have no idea what’s happened to them or how to find them contact your nearest British Embassy, commission or consulate. It will need as much information about the missing person as possible including their name, date of birth, passport details, itinerary, the last place you saw or had contact with them and their mobile phone number.

The police in the country where the person has gone missing will be responsible for conducting any searches there. Only occasionally do the UK police get involved and that’s only if the government of the country abroad invites them to.

British Embassy staff can liaise with the local authorities and keep you informed of any progress.

The government has published a guide on what to do if someone goes missing for people who find themselves in this position.

A death in suspicious circumstances

If you’re travelling with someone who dies in suspicious circumstances this can obviously be very upsetting. You can either report the death yourself to the local police or contact your nearest British Embassy, commission or consulate for help and advice. You can find out more about what you should do in these circumstances and with other crimes in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office guide for victims of crime abroad.

Crime prevention

We have a range of guides with tips on how to avoid or deal with crime while you’re abroad. These include:

Published on 07/06/18

Bookmark this page