Victims of Crime

 

If you are the victim of a crime in a foreign country, it can be a devastating and traumatic experience.  While no one can undo the emotional trauma, physical injury, or financial loss you may have experienced, the U.S. Consulates in South Africa, are ready to help.  We will help you in managing the practical consequences of being a crime victim, and provide you with information about contacting the local criminal justice system, as well as other resources for crime victims abroad and in the United States.  This office can help you in finding appropriate medical care, contacting family or friends on your behalf, and explaining how funds can be transferred.  We can also help you to better understand the criminal justice system in South Africa, which is very different from the system in the United States.

Reporting Crimes:  If you are injured during a criminal act, call 10111 right away.  You can also report a crime or register a complaint at any police station; a friend or family member can make the report under some circumstances.  The crime does not have to be reported in the jurisdiction where the crime took place.  A statute of limitations governs some crimes and the reporting of them.  You will be given a copy of the police report, and the police and courts will provide an interpreter if required.  The Consulate cannot file a complaint on your behalf.

Special Information for Cases of Domestic Violence: Domestic Violence is considered a crime in South Africa.  You can get a protection/restraining order through the Family Court, and they are strictly enforced.  Contact the Police immediately if the protection/restraining order are not followed.  Domestic violence shelters are located throughout the country and their addresses and locations are confidential.  The beds will vary depending upon the type of shelters. Referrals to shelters are made along with Domestic Violence Centers.  Children will stay with their parent in the shelter. You may contact your nearest (Please link nearest to contact info page) Consulate for more information.

Consular Assistance to U.S. Crime Victims: 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 and local employees at overseas posts know local government agencies and resources in the country where they work. Please do not hesitate to contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Section at the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban. (Please link each consulate to the relevant contact information on the contact page). 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).

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

Resources and Information for Crime Victims upon Return to the United States:

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.

Contact Information for Victim Assistance Programs:

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 familiies 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.