Physical assault abroad
Take precautions while travelling abroad
While you are planning your trip, find the information you need on the security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture of your destination at our Travel Advice and Advisories. This information will give you the knowledge and awareness you need to protect yourself and travel safe. In some countries, foreigners are targeted, so always be careful. Follow the same safety rules while you are travelling that you would at home, only more so:
- Avoid travelling on long-distance or international buses or trains at night. Try to travel early in the day, so that you will have time to find a suitable place to spend the night before dark. Ensure that you remain in contact with your family and friends and that they are aware of all your travel plans and day trips.
- Make sure your accommodations are in a safe area. Wherever possible, try to share a room with someone you know.
- Never open your door to anyone without confirming the visitor’s identity. Assailants often disguise themselves as repair or delivery persons to gain entry.
- Conceal your passport, airline ticket, credit and debit cards, traveller’s cheques, cash, a copy of your insurance policy and contact information for the nearest Canadian government office abroad in a money belt or neck pouch. Do not keep everything in one place: if possible, place a photocopy of your ID, a small amount of money, a list of important contacts, and a credit/debit card in a separate safe location.
- Never accept car rides or hitchhike. Ask the local hotels to recommend reputable taxis and whenever possible try to double up with someone you know when travelling by taxi. As a precaution, write down the taxi number or licence plate and, if possible, text this information to family and friends.
- Beware of your surroundings at all times. Study a street map of your destination in advance. Avoid opening a map while out on the street - or do so as discreetly as possible - to avoid appearing lost or vulnerable.
- Avoid sightseeing in isolated areas. Beware of petty criminals who target tourists. They may work individually or in teams, sometimes by pretending to help you or by causing a distraction to steal your belongings.
If you are assaulted or threatened abroad
- Report the assault immediately to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or contact our Emergency Watch and Response Centre .
- Contact the local authorities and file a police report.
- If you are unable to go to the police immediately, record all of the details you can remember about the attack and the attacker.
- If you need medical assistance or psychological support, ask your host or the concierge of the nearest hotel to direct you to the closest medical facility and, if possible, have photographs taken of your injuries.
- Do not assume that you are physically well. Go to a health care professional. See our Sickness or injury page for further advice.
- Contact family and friends at home regularly to reassure them that you are all right, especially if you have been unable to contact them immediately after the assault.
- To help cope with the trauma, discuss the incident with family and friends or with a professional.
Canadian government officials abroad can:
- provide you with contact information on local police and medical services
- help you to find support to deal with the emotional, medical, and legal consequences of the assault
- help you contact relatives or friends
- provide you with information on how to apply for emergency financial assistance through the Department of Justice Victims Fund.
If the offender is arrested
Depending on the local judicial system, legal proceedings may take much longer than in Canada and you may need a local lawyer. A Canadian government office abroad can provide you with a list of local lawyers.
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