A crime is an unexpected event and can cause different kinds of damage: physical, material, emotional and moral damages. People who suffer these damages are considered victims of crime.
In addition to these damages, the crime is likely to have other consequences for the victims, their friends and relatives such as physical injuries, psychological reactions, financial losses or disruption at the family, social and work levels.
Many victims manage to overcome the impact of victimisation by themselves and are able to exercise their rights and obtain compensation for their losses. Other victims may need support to deal with additional difficulties, mainly when they are not aware of the procedures they need to follow after the crime was committed.
Thus, when the crime takes place in a foreign country and not in the country where the victim usually lives, the victim may face barriers such as:
- Not knowing the country's language: having difficulties understanding the language of the country where the crime occurred may make it difficult to identify what are the institutions providing support, to know the victim's rights and the criminal proceedings as well as being able to provide information to the support professionals involved in the victim support process.
- Not knowing the area: someone who becomes a victim of crime in an unfamiliar place may not know where to go for support and may also not know where the hospitals, police stations, courts and others services are located.
- Not knowing one's rights and the judicial system: this affects the population in general but affects even more non-residents such as tourists.
- Length of stay in the country where the crime occurred: the length of stay in the country where the crime occurred, particularly for tourists, may make it more difficult to follow the necessary procedures to overcome the consequences of the victimisation.
- Barriers to participating in the criminal proceedings: the criminal processes take place, in general, in the courts of the country where the crime occurred, which means that the victims residing in a different country may not be able to attend procedural acts such as the trial in a court hearing.
To overcome these difficulties it is essential that tourists have information about their rights and the institutions providing support in a situation of crime.