Victims of Crime

Help For American Victims Of Crime Overseas

If you are the victim of a crime in Romania, the staff of the American Citizen Services Section is prepared to assist you.

In addition, please click on this link to read the Department of State’s brochure for victims of crime.

What we can do:

  • Help you replace a lost/stolen passport
  • Help you find appropriate medical care if you are injured
  • Assist you with emergency needs that might arise as a result of the crime, such as finding shelter, food or clothing
  • Help you contact your family, friends or employer
  • Provide you with information on how and where you can report the crime to local law enforcement officials (the single local emergency number is 112).
  • Provide you with general information about the criminal justice process in Romania, which is different from the system in the United States.
  • Provide a list of English speaking Attorneys (PDF 264 KB)
  • Provide information about resources for crime victims in Romania
  • Provide information about crime victim assistance resources in your state of residence if you are returning to the U.S. All U.S. states provide victim compensation programs, however only some states offer benefits to residents who are victims of violent crime overseas.  Most compensation programs require the victim to file a report at the time of the incident, and to provide a copy with the application.  Programs include financial assistance to pay for: medical costs, including counseling, funeral or burial expenses, lost income or loss of support,  expenses related to the repatriation of remains.

Consular officials cannot, however, investigate crimes, provide legal advice or represent you in court, serve as official interpreters or translators, or pay legal, medical, or other fees for you.

While most crimes in Romania are non-violent and non-confrontational, there has been an increase in the number of crimes in which the victim suffers personal harm. Crimes against tourists (robbery, mugging, pick-pocketing and confidence scams) are a growing problem in Romania. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate in the train stations and on trains, subways, and buses in major cities. A number of thefts and assaults have occurred on overnight trains, including thefts from passengers in closed compartments. Travelers who use inner-city taxis should call for a taxi, make certain the taxi has an operational meter, or agree upon a price before entering a taxi to avoid being overcharged. Money exchange schemes targeting travelers have become increasingly common in Romania. Some of these scams have become rather sophisticated, involving individuals posing as plainclothes policemen, who approach the potential victim, flash a badge and ask for his/her passport and wallet. In many of these cases, the thieves succeed in obtaining passports, credit cards, and other personal documents.
The loss or theft abroad of an U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy.

U.S. citizens who wish to travel abroad can find useful information for a trip abroad on the website of the Department of State.

The American Embassy assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of or the quality of service provided by the persons or organization whose names appear in the information contained on this site. This information is provided merely as a convenience to American citizens in Romania and in no way constitutes an official recommendation by the U.S. Government or its representative.

  • SENSIBLU Foundation – Bucharest – Counseling centers and shelters in cooperation with UNICEF, the Bucharest Police General Department and the Sensiblu pharmacy network, Tel: 021-301-7474. Counseling center: Str. Aleea Negru Voda Nr. 4 Bl. C3A Sc. 3 Et. 3 Ap. 43, Bucuresti, Tel/Fax: 021-311.46.36, Email: fundatiassb@adpharma.ro.
  • “ARTEMIS” Foundation/”Women Against Violence – Counseling offices and shelter, telephone helpline, telephone and in-person counseling, legal aid.
    • Cluj Napoca – Center for counseling of victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, shelter for women with children. Str. Baba Novac nr. 23/I, Tel: 0264-192.689, Tel/Fax: 0264-198.155, E –mail: artemis@rdslink.ro.
    • Baia Mare –Tel: 0262-250.770. E –mail: artemis@rdslink.ro.
  • APFR/Romanian Association for Promoting Women’s Right – Nongovernmental organization assisting women, including victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, unemployed women, women from rural areas and women in prison. Services: psychological counseling, individual and group therapy, social work and telephone counseling in crisis situations to women in the Timisoara area and the western part of Romania. 46, Letea St, Timisoara, Tel/Fax: 0256-293.183, 0256-193.481, E-mail: apfr@mail.dnttm.ro. Center for Psychological Counseling, Social Assistance, and Intervention in Crisis Situations, Toll free number: 0256-293.203.
  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) – Toll-free 24/7 hotline for sexual assault counseling and referrals: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).  RAINN also offers a hotline that provides live, secure, anonymous crisis support for victims of sexual violence, their friends, and families over RAINN’s website.  The Online Hotline is free of charge and is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week!
  • U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women – Information about local sexual assault victim assistance coalitions.
  • International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies – Global list of abuse hotlines, shelters, refuges, crisis centers and women’s organizations, plus domestic violence information in over 90 languages.
    •  NOTE: The agencies and organizations listed on this international directory have not been vetted by the U.S. Department of State or other federal agency.

Resources for Domestic Violence Victims in Romania:

  • National Emergency Number: 112. Call this number to request police or ambulance assistance.
  • National Center for Assistance and Protection of Domestic Violence Victims: Medical assistance, psychological assistance and legal counseling for victims of domestic violence. Hotline 021-9833, Tel./Fax: 021-340.5011.
  • Sensiblu Foundation: Local NGO providing assistance to U.S. and Romanian victims of domestic violence: shelter (Casa Blu), counseling, free legal assistance. Tel: 021-301.74.74. Counseling center: Str. Aleea Negru Voda Nr. 4, Bl. C3A, Apt. 43, Sector 3, Bucharest, Tel/Fax: 021.311.46.36, Email: fundatiassb@adpharma.ro.

Resources for Domestic Violence Victims in the U.S.:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline – Toll-free 24/7 hotline for crisis counseling and referrals: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
  • U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women – Information about local domestic violence victim assistance coalitions.
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers a safe home and shelter programs, public education and technical assistance.  They also have a list of state and international organizations that can assist domestic violence victims.  303-839-1852
  • Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center – The center serves abused Americans, mostly women and children, in both civilian and military populations overseas. The 24/7 international crisis hotline 1-866-USWOMEN (1-866-879-6636) can be called toll free from overseas.
  • International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies – Global list of abuse hotlines, shelters, refuges, crisis centers and women’s organizations, plus domestic violence information in over 90 languages.
    • NOTE: The agencies and organizations listed on this international directory have not been vetted by the U.S. Department of State or other federal agency.

Domestic violence may take various forms, more or less visible, such as physical, psychological, sexual, economic and social violence. Violence very rarely manifests itself through a single incident. Violent persons display a series of repetitive and aggressive behaviors which combine punishing and aggressive acts of several types.

Domestic violence has numerous negative and serious effects, both in the long and in the short terms. These effects have both direct (on the victim) and indirect (on persons witnessing violence acts) impacts. The victim may suffer bodily injuries, in various degrees of gravity that may often require medical care, serious and lasting health disorders amounting to physical disabilities, total or partial loss of the ability to work, transitory or permanent emotional disorders such as acute or permanent depression, anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, insomnias, nightmares, or post-traumatic syndrome (PTSD). In addition, depending on the duration and nature of the abuse, a victim may suffer from personality and behavioral disorders.

Romanian Law 217/2003 defines domestic violence as any physical or verbal action committed knowingly by a family member against another member of the same family, which causes physical, psychological, or sexual distress, or material loss. Producing evidence in domestic violence cases can be difficult. Very often in practice, medical certificates attesting to injuries and witness testimonies are useful in obtaining prosecution.

Certain safety measures that can be taken in cases of domestic violence.  In the course of the criminal investigation or during the trial, the court may issue a protective order restricting the abuser’s access to the family residence for a limited duration. Protective orders are issued upon request from the victim, or “sua sponte” (absent the victim’s request) if there is sufficient evidence or probable cause that the abuser committed acts of violence that caused physical or psychological harm to another family member (acts of violence, cruelty or other actions that pose a public danger). Such measures terminate when the situation that justifies them disappears.

Free legal aid can be granted by courts or the local public administration, when the victim cannot afford legal representation, only for victims of domestic violence who have entered a shelter.  Free psychological assistance and counseling can also provided through the local courts’ victim assistance services, for up to three months.

Victims of domestic violence can be admitted in the shelters on a walk-in basis in an emergency situation or upon recommendation from a social worker.

You should contact the local office of the Social Assistance and Child Protection Department (Directia de Asistenta Sociale si Protectia Copilului) if you know of or suspect any of the following:

  • A child that has been assaulted, abused, or badly treated within the family or out of it;
  • A child that is obliged to work illegally;
  • School age children that are not enrolled in school and/or work illegally;
  • A child with seriously inappropriate and/or criminal behavior.
  • A child who uses illegal drugs that you would like to receive counseling and assistance;
  • A child who has been kidnapped or trafficked.

The child, a parent or a third party can request that authorized agencies take appropriate action to protect a child against any form of violence, including sexual violence, mental or physical abuse, maltreatment, exploitation, abandonment or negligence.

Employees of public or private institutions (medical doctors, educational staff, etc.) who come in contact with children by virtue of their profession and have suspicions about a possible case of child abuse, negligence, or bad treatment, must immediately contact the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection.

If you encounter a child with any of these concerns who is also an American citizen, you should also contact the American Citizens Services.

Local Resources in Romania:

National Authority for Child Protection, 7 Magheru Bd., Sector 1, Tel. 021-310.07.90, 021-312.03.71 or 021- 310.07.89.

Toll-free emergency line: 0800-8.200.200.

Save the Children Romania: “Counseling Centers for Children and Family” in Bucharest, Iasi, Suceava, Timisoara, Targu Mures, Resita and Targoviste. Provides assistance for children who are victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation, and for their parents, emergency intervention and protection measures. counseling, treatment, and legal advice.

Sensiblu Foundation – “CASA BLU”: Partners with UNICEF, the Bucharest Police General Department and the Sensiblu Pharmacy Network to provide services to abused children and their parents. Shelter, psychological and legal counseling, medical assistance. Tel: 021-301.74.74. Counseling center: Str. Aleea Negru Voda Nr. 4, Bl. C3A, Apt. 43, Sector 3, Bucharest, Tel/Fax: 021.311.46.36, Email: fundatiassb@adpharma.ro.

 

The toll-free 24 hours a day /7 days a week crisis counseling and referral line for families and friends of those who have died by violence is 1-888-818-POMC. It is operated by a non-profit organization, POMC, Inc., (The National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children) which also has information on the Internet at http://www.pomc.org.