The holiday period is a busy time for consuls who may be called on to aid their citizens visiting London, so they welcomed the opportunity to learn about a service that provides free, confidential assistance to tourists who are the victims of a crime.
Addressing the Consular Corps, Aimée Allam of the International Visitors Victim Service (IVVS), explained that the project is aimed at visitors who have been in the city less than four weeks, but can include longer stay holidaymakers or business travellers.
It is funded by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and is delivered by Victim Support, a national charity.
Around 500 cases are reported to IVVS every month, mostly through the police but also increasingly through embassies. Seventy per cent of crimes are thefts, but can also include more serious incidents such as fraud, assault, sexual assault or domestic abuse.
The service attends to the immediate needs of the victim and can include emotional as well as practical assistance such as liaising with hotels, travel agents or money transfer agencies. IVVS can also assist in getting in touch with family or friends or their consulate if emergency travel documents need to be issued.
IVVS may be able to assist in getting a crime report from the police or it can provide an incident report based on the police crime report which may help victimes when making a claim from insurance companies.
Where possible assistance is given by multilingual staff to avoid the need for an interpreter.
IVVS is able to keep in contact with victims once they have returned home to update them on the police investigation.
Victim Support also offers training courses to consuls to help them provide better support to those affected by crime.
IVVS can provide consulates with crime prevention advice and information on crime trends so that consuls are able to advise their visitors.
Consuls were encouraged to contact IVVS with suggestions on how the IVVS can better assist their nationals.
For information contact Aimee Allam on 07931 866 786 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org