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Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what services his Department provides for the families of British victims of homicides committed abroad. (323280)

We will not always know whether a specific death is due to homicide, but when a British national dies abroad, including in suspicious circumstances, when they are not already aware we will work with the UK police to inform their next of kin as soon as possible. Consular staff in London are then available to update the family on any new developments.

If the death is in suspicious circumstances we can suggest ways to raise concerns with the local authorities, offer basic information about the local police system and legal system and provide lists of local lawyers, interpreters and support groups. We will consider making appropriate representations to the local authorities if there are concerns that an investigation is not being carried out in line with local procedures or if there are justified complaints about discrimination against the person who has died or their family.

General information on how we can help families of British nationals who die abroad in suspicious circumstances is set out in our public guide “Support for British Nationals Abroad: A guide”. We also publish “Guide for bereaved families” which offers more detailed information. All Foreign and Commonwealth Office publications are available on our website at: