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Crime Victim Assistance

Help for U.S. Citizen Victims of Crime in Macau SAR

United States Consulate General
26 Garden Road, Central
Phone number: (852) 2841-2211
After-hours emergency number: (852) 2523-9011
ACS Unit E-mail address: acshk@state.gov
Post Website: American Citizens Services


Please see Help for U.S. Citizen Victims of Crime Overseas to read the Department of State's brochure for victims of crime.

March 3, 2010

Being the victim of a crime in a foreign country can be a devastating and traumatic experience. While no one can undo the emotional trauma, physical injury, or financial loss you may experience as a crime victim, the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong is ready to help. We are very concerned about violent crimes committed against U.S. citizens in Macau. We assist you in managing the practical consequences of being a crime victim. We can provide you with information about accessing the local criminal justice system and other resources for crime victims abroad and in the United States. This office can assist you in finding appropriate medical care, contact family or friends on your behalf, and explain how they can transfer emergency funds to you. We can also help you to better understand the criminal justice system in Macau, which is very different from the system in the United States.

The information included in this guide relating to the legal system in Macau is provided for general information purposes only. The information may not be accurate for or relevant to a particular case. Questions involving the interpretation of Macau laws should be addressed to legal counsel specifically licensed to practice law in Macau. The investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may assist local authorities in certain cases of kidnapping, hostage-taking, and terrorism.

REPORTING CRIMES: U.S. citizen victims of crime can call the 24-hour crime reporting hotline at 993, or go to any police station in Macau to report the crime. Many Macanese police officers speak Cantonese only, but the police will provide translators for English speakers. You can file a report any time after the crime has occurred. For minor crimes or petty theft, it is possible for someone representing the victim to file a police report on your behalf, but for serious crimes, you must report in person to the police. In most cases, if there is a trial, you will also be required to testify in person. You will receive a copy of the police report.

You may need a police report to file for crime victim compensation or insurance reimbursement. If you have difficulties filing your police report with a police official, please contact the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong immediately. If you file a report, please send a copy to the Consulate, along with your address and phone number, in the event that we need to communicate with you. While we are not authorized to act as your legal representative, prosecutor or investigator, our office can help you track the progress of your case and advise you of any important developments.

A victim suffering harassment or threats should also report that to the police. In Macau, harassing or threatening behavior is a crime in itself.

INVESTIGATIONS: Many criminal investigations never result in the arrest of a suspect. In Macau, the Public Prosecutions Office is responsible for investigating crimes. Forensic evidence – fingerprints, photos, DNA samples, etc. – will be collected by the police. Under Macau's Code of Criminal Procedure, you can request a formal status report on a criminal case. In addition, you can request specific evidence to be collected. These requests may or may not be granted, but the justice system generally allows victims to play a much more active role in ongoing criminal investigations than is common in the United States. A lawyer can also represent you in this situation.

ATTORNEYS: You may want to consider hiring a local attorney to secure appropriate legal guidance. Local legal procedures differ from those in the United States. Although the Public Prosecutions Office is responsible for prosecuting your case, an attorney can represent you and promote your interests with the police and the court. While our office cannot recommend specific attorneys, we can provide you with a list of attorneys who have expressed interest in representing U.S. citizens. This list is available here: Lists of Legal Services Providers in Hong Kong and Macau.

VICTIM COMPENSATION in Macau:The Macau government does not provide monetary compensation to crime victims, and there is no government office for crime victim assistance. Instead, the social welfare department offers support to crime victims. The support offered includes monetary benefits, health care, psychological services, and counseling. These are available at the local Social Service Centres.

To report domestic violence or any other crime, you can call the police 24 hours a day at 999.

CONSULATE LOCATION: U.S. citizens living or traveling in Macau are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Macau. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the U.S Consulate in Hong Kong. By registering, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong is located at 26 Garden Road, Central. You can contact us by email at acshk@state.gov; by telephone at (852) 2841-2211; or by fax at (852) 2845-4845. The consulate's website: American Citizens Services.

SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR CASES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND RAPE: Physical evidence is very important in sexual assault cases. Physical evidence can deteriorate as time passes. Therefore, you should not change clothes, avoid bathing if possible, and have a physical exam at the first opportunity. You should take these steps even if you are unsure about whether to report the crime to police. If you decide to pursue a prosecution at a later time, these steps preserve evidence that will assist the prosecutor. A consular officer or after-hours duty officer from the U.S. Consulate may be able to accompany victims of sexual assault to the medical exam.

The Macau penal code defines a series of offenses as sex crimes, including rape and sexual abuse. These crimes should be reported to the police. At the station, an officer of the same gender as the victim will conduct the interview. English-speaking officers will be provided to people who need them. Acquaintance rape is considered a crime, as is spousal rape. The identity of victims in rape and kidnap cases is protected by law.

The Public Prosecutions Office, which oversees criminal investigations, will authorize any necessary forensic sexual assault exam. This exam could include DNA samples, genital swabs, finger nail scrapings, blood samples or saliva samples. The Macau government pays for the exam. If a victim chooses not to do a physical exam, it may or may not adversely affect the case. Local authorities say such cases are often strengthened by physical evidence, but if none is available they will use other resources.

You should get medical attention to determine if you have been injured in any way and to discuss treatment and prevention options for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Emergency contraception (the morning-after pill) is available in Macau, as is HIV prophylaxis. The U.S. Consulate offers a list of local medical providers in Macau.

SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR CASES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: In Macau, domestic violence is a crime punishable by one to 15 years in prison. In practice, experts say, perpetrators are rarely punished. The government offers medical treatment, counseling, and social welfare services for victims of abuse. The government may also provide domestic violence victims with public housing until their complaints are resolved.

Several private and religious groups receive government support for programs they run to help victims of domestic violence. The Bureau for Family Action, a government organization subordinate to the Department of Family and Community of the Social Welfare Institute, helps female victims of domestic violence by providing a safe place for them and their children and by giving legal advice. Some services are available for non-Macau residents, but English-speaking staff is limited. A family counseling service is available at social service centers. Some government-supported religious programs also offer rehabilitation programs for female victims of violence.

The Good Shepherd Centre helps women and children in crisis. The centre offers counseling, shelter, and social services for people in difficult situations, including pregnant teenagers and women suffering domestic violence. It has 14 beds and is open to citizens of any country. 30 Estrada da Vitoria, Macau, Tel (853) 573 778, Fax (853) 562 049.

The Lai Yuen Centre of the Women's General Association of Macau also offers shelter to women over 18 and their needy minors. It is open to Macau resident card holders only and has 30 beds. The center also runs Macau's 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (853) 2832-6632. Cantonese, Mandarin, and simple English are spoken. Caixa Postal n° 6559, Macau. Email Address: laiyuen@macau.ctm.net

SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR CASES OF CHILD ABUSE: The Macau social welfare department is the government agency responsible for the protection of children, but all child abuse allegations should be reported directly to a local police station. The social welfare department, the Public Prosecutions Office, and the police have the authority to investigate allegations of child abuse.

SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR CASES OF HOMICIDE: Under Macau law, autopsies are required in all cases of non-natural death. Family members can be involved in the investigation, although their level of involvement will vary from case to case.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Macau Government Family Counseling Office provides multi-disciplinary professional therapy services to families in difficult situations, including dealing with domestic violence (spouse battering, child abuse, elder abuse, etc.), and emotional issues (suicide). Their hours are Monday to Thursday 9:00-13:00, 14:30-17:45; Friday 9:00-13:00, 14:30-17:30. Their officers speak Mandarin and Cantonese, but not English, and their services are available to everyone, regardless of nationality.

Address: Avenida do Conselheiro Borja nº 56,Centro de Sinistrados da Ilha Verde, 1º andar
Telephone: 28221945
Fax: 28262836

 

Last modified: February 19, 2014