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By Fiona Moore, for ExpatBriefing.com
18 July, 2014
A new report from the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office has highlighted the extent to which British nationals overseas have received consular assistance over the past year, and reveals that there has been a decrease in some of the more serious types of consular cases.
The report, entitled British Behaviour Abroad 2014, shows that the number of hospitalization cases handled by FCO staff has fallen to the lowest level in five years, particularly in destinations such as France, Thailand, and Spain. However, there was a 15 percent rise in cases involving British nationals with mental health needs. The FCO says it is currently seeking to offer more support here, in line with the consular strategy to do more for the most vulnerable cases.
Meanwhile, cases of rape and sexual assault reported to consular staff have also dropped significantly, with the total number of reported rape cases at its lowest level for a decade. In particular, there were large falls in Spain and Turkey, while reported sexual assaults were down by almost 12 percent globally.
However, while there has also been a decline in Britons being arrested abroad, drug arrests remain a problem in some countries. Australia and Spain saw a combined increase in recorded cases of more than 80 percent.
Overall, FCO consular staff handled 17,517 assistance cases globally in 2013-14. A greater number of British people were found to be in need of assistance in destinations such as the Philippines, Australia, China, and the United Arab Emirates. British residents are most likely to need assistance in the Philippines, Thailand, and Jamaica.
Mark Simmonds, the UK's Minister for Consular Affairs, asked travelers to take precautions ahead of going abroad. He advised them to take out comprehensive travel insurance, to research their destination and health risks before arrival, and to behave responsibly while abroad.
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