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British Nationals Abroad: Murder and Manslaughter

Volume 598: debated on Thursday 16 July 2015

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is committed to providing high-quality, cost-effective and compassionate support to British nationals abroad, focusing on vulnerable groups and those that most need our help.

In January 2015, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, announced the completion of the FCO’s review into the support we provide to families in the event of British nationals being murdered abroad, and the establishment of a new unit to provide a more co-ordinated and professional service during these often complex and long-running cases. (Official Report, 22 January 2015; Vol 591, c10-11WS.)

The terrible events in Sousse, Tunisia, in June sadly demonstrate the requirement for such a unit. Since January, the unit has taken on 66 new cases of British nationals murdered abroad, including the victims of the terrorist attacks in Tunisia and the Germanwings airplane crash in March, as well as supporting the families of victims in over 150 ongoing cases. We have renamed the new unit the murder and manslaughter team to make clear the nature of the cases the unit deals with.

The team has also been developing new specialist training for consular officers on managing cases effectively and sensitively, updating information available to the public, strengthening our relationships with partnership organisations, improving the support we provide to families attending trials, and considering what further support we can provide to families of those who have died under suspicious circumstances.

We will continue to monitor and evaluate our progress during 2015-16.