7 FAM 1940


(CT:CON-885;   10-24-2019)
(Office of Origin:  CA/OCS)

7 FAM 1941  Reporting of serious crime victim cases

(CT:CON-885;   10-24-2019)

a. Promptly report all serious crime victim cases to CA/OCS/ACS using the ACS system as a Welfare and Whereabouts Service subcategory, Victims Assistance.  If urgent assistance is required from CA, follow with a phone call or email.  Describe in the ACS System significant ongoing activity or involvement in a case and update as appropriate.

b. It is important to handle and report these cases sensitively and with discretion.  Provide enough detail to convey the gravity of the incident, without including sensational or graphic details.  Do not share judgments or commentary.

c.  Under the Privacy Act of 1974, a U.S. citizen/national victimized by crime in your consular district has the right to obtain copies of relevant reports you receive from host-country authorities, as well as cables, emails, and memoranda concerning the individual that you send to the Department.  Alleged perpetrators of crime or abuse also may seek documents concerning the incident through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Therefore, be circumspect in how you report the incident.

d. The ACS system provides for the reporting of crimes in ten categories defined as follows for reporting purposes only:

(1)  Murder and non-negligent manslaughter:  The unlawful killing of a person (adult or child) by another.  Does not include deaths caused by terrorism, negligence, suicide, accident, justifiable homicides, and attempted murder;

(2)  Murder by terrorism:  The killing of a person (adult or child) as the result of a terrorist attack.  Terrorism is premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets, usually intended to influence an audience;

(3)  Terrorist attack:  The injury of a person (adult or child) as a result of a terrorist attack.  Includes bombings, armed attacks, hostage taking, and other acts.  Terrorism is premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets, usually intended to influence an audience;

(4)  Kidnapping:  The unlawful taking and detaining of a person (adult or child) against his/her will, for an undetermined amount of time, usually for ransom.  Does not include hostages who are held by terrorist organizations or parental child abduction;

(5)  Child abuse:  The maltreatment of a minor (under the age of 18 years) that results in injury or harm including physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse or exploitation.  Includes child abandonment; deprivation of adequate food, clothing, shelter, sexual molestation, rape, prostitution, statutory rape, child pornography, or incest;

(6)  Rape and sexual assault:  Any act committed against an unwilling or nonconsensual adult for the sexual pleasure of the perpetrator.  Includes attempted rape, rape, and molestation;

(7)  Aggravated assault or assault:  An unlawful attack or attempted attack by one person upon another person (adult only) for the purpose of inflicting bodily injury but does not result in death.  Includes attempted murder and the use of a weapon or other means likely to produce bodily harm, but bodily harm is not necessarily inflicted.  Does not include violence between family members;

(8)  Robbery:  The act or instance of unlawfully taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person by use of force or threat of force or violence and/or putting the victim in fear.  Includes carjacking and mugging;

(9)  Domestic/Family violence:  The use of physical violence, threats, intimidation, emotional, or sexual abuse against an adult spouse or intimate partner or other family member.  Includes forced marriages, elder abuse, and violence within married couples; and

(10) International parental child abductions:  The unlawful taking or retention of a child outside the United States with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights.

e. Reporting covers only crimes reported to a consular officer abroad by victims, their families, or by the host-country government and which result in a consular officer or officers providing substantial assistance to the victim.  Substantial assistance may include providing the victim with guidance on how to report to local authorities; information on victims' assistance resources; providing the attorneys list; facilitating communication with family; passport replacement; financial assistance services.  Crime data from media reports alone will not be included in the report.  Nonviolent crimes such as burglary and other crimes against property, extortion or identity theft, no matter how much consular assistance is provided, are also not included in the report.  Certain property takings that frequently result in consular involvement are reported annually by posts under the Helms Act reporting requirements (see 7 FAM 615).  For reporting purposes in the ACS system each U.S. citizen victim will be counted once in only one crime category that is one of the 10 categories listed in 7 FAM 1741, paragraph d.  If more than one citizen is involved in a single incident, each victim will be counted as a separate entity.  If an individual is the victim of more than one crime in a single incident, posts will record and count the case under the most severe crime associated with the case.  The hierarchy of priority is in descending order as listed in 7 FAM 1741, paragraph d.  For example, in a case in which a citizen is robbed and murdered, the case will be reported as a murder.  Consular officers should use judgment to select the crime category that best applies in each victim’s case.  If you are unsure, contact CA/OCS Victim Assistance at VictimAssistance@state.gov.  (You must check that the “Crime Victim Assistance” box under the Category of Service in ACS is marked for any reports involving victims of crime.  This information is needed for data analysis.)

7 FAM 1942  Front Channel CabLES

(CT:CON-885;   10-24-2019)

a. You are not required to send a cable on each case of violent crime that affects a U.S. citizen.  Some cases may merit such special reports due to the need to coordinate diplomatic exchanges, arrange for interagency assistance, or provide press guidance for cases that are the subject of media attention.  Examples may include victims of terrorism, government sanctioned violence, murdered journalists, war crimes, hate crimes, and other acts likely to necessitate diplomatic engagement above and beyond routine victim assistance.  In such instances, your reporting should:

(1)  Always be sensitive to the emotional needs and feelings of the alleged victim, especially in instances where they have experienced an extremely traumatic event involving any degree of violence; and

(2)  Be limited to the facts of the case as reported by the alleged victim and information from local authorities.  Report enough detail to convey the gravity of the incident without including sensational or graphic details.  Until it has been determined by local authorities that a crime has occurred, it is an “alleged crime.”  Do not include conjecture or speculation.

b. 7 FAM 220 provides guidance on notification and reporting of deaths of U.S. nationals abroad. 

c.  Use neutral terms:  Post reporting about crime victim cases should avoid speculation or conjecture not supported by the facts of the case.

For example:

The alleged victim said the following occurred.

Mr. Public alleged that the following occurred.

d. Indicate “Crime Victim Assistance Case” on the subject line.

e. Include the following pertinent details:

(1)  Name, date and place of birth of the victim;

(2)  Victim’s passport number, if known;

(3)  Nature of the crime;

(4)  Medical condition and present location of the victim;

(5)  Whether the victim is a resident of the United States and if so, which State.  (This information is needed to determine what resources might be available.);

(6)  Affiliation of victim (employer, school, missionary group, tour group, etc.);

(7)  Next-of-kin or other points of contact;

(8)  The consular services provided and additional services needed, including whether referrals to victims assistance and victim compensation programs were provided;

(9)  Whether a police report was made;

(10) Privacy Act information/waiver; and

(11) In death cases include (see 7 FAM 200):

(a   Cause of death;

(b)  Location/condition of the remains;

(c)  Local autopsy requirements;

(d)  Estimated time for release of remains; and

(e)  Forensic identification requiring coordination with next-of-kin (DNA tests, etc.), if applicable.

7 FAM 1943  through 1949 unassigned