Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Rise in holiday sex attack reports

A total of 19,000 Britons needed consular assistance abroad in 2012/13

The number of British people seeking government help after falling victim to rape or sexual assault abroad increased by 10% last year, official figures show.

Spain, Turkey and Greece, all popular holiday destinations for young Britons, saw the most requests for consular assistance from victims of sex attacks, the Foreign Office statistics show.

The figures in the British Behaviour Abroad Report 2013 showed there were 19,000 requests for help overall, a drop of 3%.

Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds said: "The priority for our consular staff is the safety and well-being of British travellers and we will continue to work, including with other governments and tour operators, to help to prevent further cases and provide all possible support for victims. This support includes explaining local procedures, accompanying people to the police station, helping them deal with local authorities and medical staff and contacting friends and family at home if that is wanted."

In total, 310 Britons requested consular assistance after a sex attack in the 2012/2013 period covered by the report, with 138 saying they had been raped and 172 sexually assaulted. That was up from 281 (127 rapes and 154 sex assaults) in 2011/2012.

Spain had the highest number of reported sex attacks with 39, with almost half of them in the Balearic Islands, which includes Ibiza and Majorca.

A total of 3,599 Britons requested help after being hospitalised last year, the report showed. But the number of Britons requesting help after being arrested abroad for drug offences fell to 653, its lowest level for four years, the report showed, with a decrease of 34% since 2009/2010. There was also a 21% drop in the total number of arrests over the same period from 6,919 to 5,435.

The number of Britons requesting aid after a death abroad was 6,193, down from 6237 the previous year, the report showed. Cases of lost or stolen passports and travel documents reached 28,783 in 2012/13 - a slight rise on the 28,659 in 2011/12.

Spain, with more than three-quarters of a million British residents, was the country with the most requests for consular assistance at 4,658, down from 5,405 the previous year. It was followed by the USA and France.

But the FCO said there had been a "significant decrease in arrests and hospital admissions. It said alcohol "continues to be a major factor" in cases involving young people in the Balearic Islands, Turkey and the Greek islands.

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