Free help for crime victims in France including foreign nationals

France Victimes offers guidance in English from reporting a crime to going to trial

Common offences include cyber crime and theft of wallets and identity papers

Support is available if you fall victim to a criminal offence in France, whether you are a resident or simply a tourist.

The France Victimes federation is a network of 132 local associations providing free and confidential advice and guidance to victims.

They work with victims of any crime, including fraud, theft and domestic violence.

You can get in touch with a local association by calling 116 006 (or, if abroad, +33 (0) 1 80 52 33 76).

This is a European helpline that has been introduced in 17 countries, with plans to extend it to all 27 member states.

In France, it is run by France Victimes, and receives some 50,000 calls each year.

Foreign languages are spoken

Jérôme Moreau, vice-president of France Victimes, said: “The idea is to have as many people as possible who speak a foreign language, and to keep a list of local associations and the languages spoken by the people who work there.”

He said the federation frequently assists foreign nationals who have been affected by any number of crimes, including tourists who were present in Nice during the July 14, 2016, terrorist attack.

Common offences include cyber crime and theft of wallets and identity papers.

Read more: Cashpoint ‘shoulder surfing’ gang arrested in France

Guide victims through procedure

The associations provide legal support, by guiding victims through the necessary steps when taking action, as well as social and psychological support.

The network helps approximately 400,000 people each year, including 90,000 women who were victims of domestic violence in 2022.

For people who are not French, the federation insists on upholding their right to have documents related to legal proceedings translated, Mr Moreau said.

“In order to be able to defend yourself, and assert your rights, you need to understand the different procedures.

“We help them to file a complaint, which is the first thing to do. Then if there is a trial, we can inform them of the next steps, we can accompany victims who are abroad, or provide a link to other associations in Europe.”

Read more: More law courts in France to use ‘calming’ dogs after trial success

File the complaint in France not home country

He said foreign victims often prefer to travel home rather than filing a complaint, but this is a mistake.

“Somebody being foreign takes nothing away from our ability to take action. We are there for anybody affected by a crime in France.

“We are unique in that we are present everywhere in the country. Each victim can find a France Victimes association.”

In terms of cyber crime, he said there are few legal options available, but they can help victims to block their bank accounts, make insurance claims, and file complaints.

“Even if we are always asking for improvements, victims have plenty of rights in France. We are among the most advanced countries in Europe in this domain.”

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