This week marks the 31st annual National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW). This week-long campaign sponsored by the Department of Justice's Office of Victims of Crime originated as an opportunity to remember the rights of victims of crime and to acknowledge the advocates who work on their behalf. The theme of this year's event is "Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim."
This theme falls very much in line with the overall mission of Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. OCS is responsible for the protection and safety of all U.S. citizens traveling abroad -- many in far-off and isolated locations.
While overall U.S. citizen travel abroad has declined in recent years, the volume of young Americans choosing to study abroad continues to increase. When students are researching study abroad locations, they often consider the cultural attributes of a country, as well as the language and the customs. One thing that students usually do not take into consideration is the risk of crime and the fact that U.S. laws do not apply abroad. Students remain a vulnerable demographic and are often targeted by criminals.
With this in mind, the Bureau of Consular Affairs is taking several steps to ensure Americans have all the necessary information to make informed decisions about their travel abroad. For example, students who are interested in or planning to study abroad can find useful information on our Students Abroad website. This website includes country-specific travel information, tips on traveling smart, and what to do in case of an emergency. We are also sharing our resources and information with U.S. college and university study abroad programs, so that students are well-informed before they go overseas. Students can also find information about U.S. embassies in each country and we encourage you to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) Program so that we can locate you in an emergency.
The Bureau of Consular Affairs is dedicated to providing assistance and resources to U.S. citizens abroad and to reducing the number of U.S. citizens involved in crimes overseas. We believe a well-informed traveler is a safe traveler.
To learn more, visit travel.state.gov.