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U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Office of Overseas Citizen Services Consular Assistance to U.S. Citizens Overseas Victoria Bonasera.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Office of Overseas Citizen Services Consular Assistance to U.S. Citizens Overseas Victoria Bonasera."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Office of Overseas Citizen Services Consular Assistance to U.S. Citizens Overseas Victoria Bonasera Victim Assistance Specialist October 2012

2 Goals of the Presentation  Explain the role of the U.S. State Department in assisting U.S. citizens overseas  Discuss unique issues in overseas crime cases  Share information on foreign country compensation programs and other national resources  Discuss the challenges for overseas victims to qualify for U.S. state compensation programs 2

3 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations  International agreement ( 1963): Legal authority for one nation’s consular officers to function within another nation and act on behalf of its citizens  A Consul: An official appointed by a country to reside in another country and assist its citizens residing or traveling in a foreign state 3

4 4 Bureau of Consular Affairs  Mission: To provide Consular services and protections to Americans abroad. Assistance to Americans abroad in emergencies & non-emergencies Safety of U.S. citizens traveling, studying, and residing abroad is paramount

5 5 Bureau of Consular Affairs  Passport Services 23 Passport Agencies 12.6 million passports issued in FY 11.  Visa Services Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas  Overseas Citizens Services Emergency/Non-Emergency Services Crime Victim Assistance Children’s Issues

6 Overseas Citizens Services Our Number One Priority: Safety and Security of U.S. citizens abroad

7 U.S. Department of State Structure  Over 250 Embassies and Consulates in nearly every country in the world  Augmented by Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) staff in Washington American Citizen Services (ACS) Children’s Issues (CI): International Adoptions, International Parental Abductions Office of Legal Affairs (L) Outreach and Training (OT) 7

8 U.S. Citizens Abroad  U.S. citizens make over 65 million trips abroad every year  6.3 million U.S. citizens reside overseas  Over 700,000 students study abroad 8

9 9 Consular Information Program  Country Specific Information (200+ semi-annually) Country-specific information, e.g., health and safety conditions, entry requirements, US Embassy and consulate locations and contact information  Travel Warnings Dangerous or unstable conditions – countrywide, chronic  Travel Alerts Short-term threat; regional threat within a country  No Double Standard!

10 10 Non-Emergency Services  Citizenship  File Taxes  Voting  Federal Benefits  Notarials  Enrollment- Let us know you are there Enroll on the Internet or at embassies and consulates overseas

11 Emergency Services  Issuance of Emergency Passports  Welfare/whereabouts Privacy Act limitations  Arrests/detentions More than 3,500 per year; 30 % drug related Monitor case; communicate with family & authorities Consular prison visits: almost 9000 per year.  Crisis response/evacuation coordination 11

12 Emergency Services  Deaths and Estates  Medical Emergencies 2500 hospitalizations abroad per year, 400 medevacs  Crime/terrorism victims’ assistance 12

13 13 Emergency Financial Assistance  Financial Assistance Programs Assist in contacting family/friends for help –OCS Trusts -- $1.7 M last year Repatriation loans –$1.8M per year Emergency Medical and Dietary Loans –$175K per year

14 14 CA’s Victim Assistance Program  Program began in 2000, when we realized we were seeing more victims  In addition, there was greater Congressional interest in how we were serving victims.

15 15 Victim Assistance Program Responsibilities  Provide support  Increase understanding of Impact of Crime Principals of Victim Assistance  Track numbers of cases

16 16 Kidnapping Child Abuse Homicide Assault Rape Terrorism Robbery Domestic Violence

17 17 Hostage Taking IPCA Trafficking Other crimes in which the victim suffers serious physical injury or emotional trauma.

18 18 What can consular staff do to assist victims of violent crime? What can’t they do?

19 19 Assisting Victims  Overseas Provide support and information Explain criminal justice process  From Washington Resources & referrals

20 20 Provide Information Provide criminal justice process information  Help the victim file police report & obtain copy  Serve as the POC for case information, case progress, and court dates  Advocate for travel expenses if the victim returns to testify and provide requested assistance  Accompany the victim to key phases of the trial, if possible, and monitor the trial outcome  Identify local sources of support ($, emotional)

21 21 What are some of the issues for crime victims overseas?

22 22 Issues for Victims Overseas  Far from family or friends  Out of his/her “comfort zone”  Unfamiliar with where to get help  Language/cultural/legal differences  Foreign criminal justice process  Additional costs

23 23 Overseas Challenges  Local law  Systems may be corrupt  Won’t investigate crime  Victims may not have rights  Services may not exist  Difficult choices  Services are not equal

24 State Department Challenges  Location of the victim/crime  Organizational culture  Staff turnover  Workload  Staff training 24

25 Foreign Compensation Programs  Programs change constantly  Foreigners may not be eligible  Awards may be low  Awards may be contingent on hiring an attorney or a conviction  They do not correlate with our state programs 25

26 Compensation Programs NACVCB.org  Financial Assistance  25 States, Puerto Rico and U.S.V.I.  ITVERP

27 27 25 States that Compensate Victims from Overseas California Colorado FloridaGeorgia Idaho Illinois IowaKansas Louisiana Minnesota Mississippi Missouri New Jersey Nevada N. Dakota Ohio Pennsylvania Puerto Rico S. Carolina S. Dakota Texas Utah U.S. V.I. Vermont Virginia West Virginia Wisconsin All states provide support for victims of terrorism.

28 28 Working Together We ask you to: Review program statutes Share information We can: Assist you with any international-related issue

29 National Resources    services/victim_assistance/victi ms  RAINN 

30 Find Us, Like Us, Share Us  Travel.state.gov  Facebook.com/TravelGov  STEP  There’s an app for that!  30

31 Victim Assistance Staff Nayda Allridge Phone: Margery Gehan Phone: Vicky Bonasera Phone:

32 Consular Affairs Contacts Available 24 hours a day Overseas Citizens Services Toll Free:

33 33 Remember… Consular staff have an important role in assisting American crime victims overseas… But so do you!

34 34 Thank You !


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