Reducing the risk of assault
Assaults can happen when travelling overseas. In most cases, the perpetrator is a stranger. In some, it can be a family member or travelling companion.
Explore this page for general information and advice about:
If you're already overseas and need help, see assaulted overseas.
Types of assault
Types of assaults Australians may experience overseas include:
- common assaults
- violent assaults that cause injuries
- road rage and road based crime
- verbal and emotional abuse
- rape and sexual assault
How to reduce the risk of assault
There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of assault overseas. However, be aware that you can only reduce the risk. You can't eliminate it.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, a violent person may just decide to assault you.
The Better Health Channel also publishes advice for travelers. See travel safety tips (Victorian Department of Health and Social Services)
Do your research
- Research your destination. Know what violent crimes are common.
- Ask a local which parts of town to avoid, or be more cautious in.
- Learn the culture and the law.
Avoid dangerous situations
- Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings. If something doesn't feel right, leave.
- Avoid walking alone. Explore the area with a companion. Safety in numbers.
- Don't go in to poorly lit areas at night. If you must, take someone you trust with you.
- Avoid going into back rooms of shops. If you can't see the street, other people can't see you. It's easier for someone to assault you when there's no witnesses.
- Be cautious of unsolicited invitations from strangers. Including invitations to their homes.
- Don't flash your cash. Or your valuables. Reduce temptation for criminals who may violently rob or mug you.
- Pick your battles. If a situation is escalating, know when to walk away before things turn violent.
Stay within the law
- Know the local laws.
- Respect the local culture and religion. If you offend someone, they may resort to violence.
- Pay your bills. People may get violent if you try to get out of paying for something. It's only money.
- Follow the road rules. Written and unwritten. Reduce the risk of a road rage incident.
- Don't take drugs, or get drunk. You need your wits about you. Disorientated tourists are easy targets. You could be arrested or jailed for being under the influence.
- Don't fight. In some countries all violence is illegal, even if you consent. You could both be arrested or jailed for assault.
How to get help if you're assaulted overseas
Know where to get help if you're assaulted overseas. In most cases, you'll need to seek help from authorities in your destination.
- If you get injured, seek medical assistance from the nearest hospital.
- Report the crime to the local police.
- If you need money, talk to your bank, insurer, family and friends.
You can find local emergency contact numbers in our travel advisory for your destination.
Your travel insurer will also have processes in place for helping clients overseas. Insurers can help you coordinate medical assistance and money.
The Australian Government is limited how and when it can help Australians overseas. It's important you understand our limits. Read the Consular Services Charter.
- Read our travel advisory for your destination. Understand the advice level.
- See our advice on reducing the risk of sexual assault, muggings and scams.
- Read about road safety and driving overseas.
- If you're already overseas and need help, see assaulted overseas.
- Read travel safety tips and travel tips for women (Victorian Department of Health and Human Services).
- Read about driving and road safety abroad (US Government).