Need for Medical Care
I am a tourist and was a victim of crime / Procedures - What to do after the crime takes place
The first thing to keep in mind after a crime is committed is the need for the victim to get medical care immediately, particularly when the crime involved physical or sexual violence.
The health care needed can be obtained in a private hospital if the victim has the right health insurance or can afford it or in the public health system (Sistema Nacional de Saúde).
In Portugal everybody has the right to be provided care in a public hospital, particularly if one was a victim of crime. The health system is a public one but, even so, users have to pay a fee that varies according to their situation (whether the patient is from an European Union country or not, whether the patient contributes to the social security system, etc).
If you were a victim of crime and go to a hospital, it is important to say that your injuries or symptoms resulted from a crime, so that this information can be included in the medical report and to ensure that the care provided does not undermine any evidence.
To know where the hospitals in Portugal are located, please go the Portal da Saúde webpage (http://www.portaldasaude.pt)
The Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) is a national charity whose mission is to support victims of crime, their families and friends by providing quality, free-of-charge and confidential victim support services and to contribute to the improvement of public, social and private victim-centred policies.
APAV supports people who were victims of crime and violence and their relatives and friends. We support the victims of all types of crime: domestic violence, abuse or ill-treatment, threats, homicide, sexual crimes, abduction, kidnapping, bag-snatching, motor vehicle burglary or theft, pick pocketing, home burglary, theft, fraud, damage, extortion, breach of trust, document forgery, losses, cybercrime, racial discrimination, etc.
APAV has 15 Victim Support Offices across the country. To know the address and contact details of the nearest Victim Support Office, click here (http://apav.pt).
Tourists who were victims of crime in Portugal will find APAV a welcoming entity. At APAV offices they will be able to use the internet and the telephone and receive the following types of support:
Emotional support immediately after the crime is committed;
Timely psychological support to the victims, their friends and relatives;
Contacting credit card and mobile phone providers to cancel their services;
Contacting airlines to cancel or reschedule flight tickets;
Contacting relatives in their country of origin;
Access to the internet;
Legal advice about their rights in each stage of criminal proceedings;
Having a support professional accompanying the victim to police stations or other services;
Help understanding the official judicial notifications received during criminal proceedings.
Continuing psychological support to the victims who, for some reason, stay in Portugal for an extended period.
Help with writing up documents and requests - for example, compensation claims, reporting the crime, requesting their declarations to the police to be recorded and used in criminal proceedings when required (this mechanism is called testimony for future use).
Support provided by APAV is always free-of-charge and confidential.
Reporting the Crime
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.
Reporting the crime to the authorities is also important for statistical or crime prevention purposes or for organising events promoting safety in specific cases or locations.
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 or, in the case of the police forces, the investigation is outside their remit.
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 specialised 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:
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.
Statement for Future Memory
After the crime is reported, the criminal proceedings follow with an investigation phase and, if there is enough evidence, the trial. The hearing in court should be attended by the defendant and his/her lawyer, the offended party, the witnesses and other people affected by the crime.
For tourists who are victims of crime and who return to their country of residence, it may be difficult to ensure that they attend the hearing in court. So, to avoid having them attending this phase in the criminal proceedings, as soon as they report the crime they can request that their statement is heard by the Judicial Authority and later used as evidence in the trial - this is called a statement for future memory.
Request to provide your testimony for future memory can be done immediately after reporting the crime formally and does not require that the victim is represented by a lawyer.
Requesting Legal Aid
Since tourists who are victims of crime will be returning to their country of residence, it is important to assure that they are properly represented in the criminal proceedings by a lawyer who can defend their interests and keep them informed of any developments in the process.
This legal representation can be provided by a private lawyer arranged by the offended party. If the offended party does not have the financial means to afford this expense, then they can request the Portuguese Social Security for legal aid. Through this type of support a lawyer is appointed without either the applicant incurring any costs or by allowing the payment of justice fees and lawyer fees in instalments.
The citizens entitled to legal aid, besides the Portuguese citizens, are the European Union citizens and third country nationals (outside the European Union) with legal residence (having a valid visa or Resident Permit) in an European Union country. For third countries nationals who are undocumented , this support can be provided if there are specific agreements covering it between Portugal and the applicants' country of residence.
Requesting legal aid must be done by completing a form (http://www4.seg-social.pt) and enclosing documents confirming that the applicant does not have sufficient financial means.
This can be done in a Social Security customer centre or, if the offended party has returned to his/her country of residence, the request can be sent by post. Please click here to access the Social Security addresses.
If your bank, identification or travel documents were taken from you when the crime was committed, it is necessary to cancel them and request new ones. For that you should follow these steps:
1 — Contact your bank or your credit card provider immediately requesting that the cards are cancelled and inform them about the date and time the cards were taken away from you.
2 — Even after cancelling the cards, do report the crime in a police station or to other suitable authority and inform them about the cards' numbers and providers. Reporting the crime is important so that you are no longer responsible for the expenses incurred after the cards were taken from you.
3 — Afterwards you can request your provider to replace the cards and you should, if requested, present them with a copy of the police report.
Here you have the contact details for cancelling cards from for the main credit card providers:
MASTER CARD (http://www.mastercard.com)
AMERICAN EXPRESS (https://www.americanexpress.com)
1 — Report the crime in a police station or to other suitable authority so that you have confirmation that you no longer have the passport with you and therefore are not responsible for its misuse.
2 — Contact the embassy or consulate corresponding to that passport to request either another one or a temporary document that allows you to return to your country of residence.
Identification Documents (ID)
1 — Report the crime in a police station or to other suitable authority so that you have confirmation that you no longer have your ID documents with you and therefore are not responsible for their misuse.
2 — In Portugal it is not possible to request a duplicate of your ID documents. You will have to do this after returning to your country of residence and by contacting the relevant authorities. You will need a copy of the police report to confirm that your documents were taken away from you.
1 — Contact the travel company to request new tickets
2 — Even if you already have new tickets, it is important that you report the crime so that you are not responsible for their misuse.
Description of the facts (what happened?):
Physical Consequences (physical marks of aggression or others):
FORM _ PROCEDURES
Objects and/or documents taken away from you:
Cash — Cheques — Passport — Driving Licence — ID — Bank Card — Credit Card — Travel Tickets — Luggage — Computer — Photography Camera — Camcorder — Mobile Phone — GPS — Tablet — MP3 — Jewellery — Clothes — Shoes — Spectacles/Sunglasses — Others
Social Emergency: 144
APAV: 21 358 79 14 (week days from 10am to 5.30pm)
At APAV we will be able to provide you with other useful contacts
Telephone Translation Service: 808 257 257 / 218 106 191 (week days from 9am to 7pm)
Tourism Police Station
Procedures — check here what you have already done and what you still need to do:
Go to the hospital
Report the crime
Request providing a statement for future memory
Request legal aid
Cancel bank cards and credit cards
Inform the travel company that tickets were taken away and request new tickets
Contact my embassy or consulate to request new passport
Information about the police report:
Service where the crime was reported:
Name of the responsible police officer:
Report identification number: