If you are victim of a crime or you feel in imminent danger, you should immediately contact local authorities by dialing “123” for police and emergency services anywhere in Colombia.
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 have experienced, the U.S. Embassy in Bogota is ready to help. We are very concerned about violent crimes committed against U.S. citizens in Colombia.
What we can do:
- Help you replace a lost/stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are injured.
- Assist you with emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime, such as finding shelter, food, or clothing.
- Help you contact your family, friends, or employer, if you wish.
- Explain how and where you can report the crime to local law enforcement officials.
- Provide you with general information about the criminal justice process in Colombia.
- Provide you with information about resources for crime victims in Colombia.
- Provide you with a list of attorneys practicing in Colombia and identify those who speak English.
- Provide you with information about crime victim assistance resources in your state of residence, if you are returning to the United States.
What we cannot do:
- Provide legal advice or represent you in court.
- Pay legal fees or other expenses for you.
- Request preferential treatment for U.S. citizens during legal proceedings in Colombia
- The information included in this guide related to the legal requirements in Colombia is provided for general purposes only. The information may not be accurate or relevant to a particular case. Questions involving interpretation of Colombian laws should be addressed to legal counsel licensed to practice law in Colombia. The investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities. Upon the request of the Colombian government, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may assist local authorities in certain cases of kidnapping, hostage-taking and terrorism.
For more information access the Help for U.S. Citizen Victims of Crime Overseas page at the State Department website.
A crime should be reported to the appropriate Colombian authorities as soon as possible. A police report is known as a “denuncia”. For crimes such as theft, scams, forgery of public or private documents, cybercrime, extortion, gender-based violence and child exploitation you can file a report through the online system ADenunciar The virtual system will take 24 hours to verify the information. This website is in Spanish only.
If the crime you are reporting is not previously mentioned or if you require immediate assistance, you will be required to file the report in person at the nearest Immediate Reaction Unit (Unidad de Reacción Inmediata URI) of the Colombian authorities. You may also file a report at a police station but it will not have the same validity for legal procedures and it is recommended that victims go to the URI to file a formal report. Also, it is best to file the report in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred, if possible. Be sure to receive a copy of the report before departing.
For information on URI locations throughout Colombia, please click here Then click on directory (“Directorio Fiscalia”). You need to provide Department (“Departamento” equivalent to a State), City (“Municipio”) and for Service (“Servicio”) choose File a report (“Recepcion de Denuncias”). The map will show where you can go to file a report.
The victim should file the report in person. Colombian authorities’ offices seldomly have English-speaking staff, if the victim does not speak Spanish it is helpful to assist with someone who does.
If you have difficulties filing your police report with an official, please contact U.S. Embassy Bogota or the U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla immediately.
If you do decide to file a report please send a copy to us, along with your contact information in the event we need to communicate with you. While we are not authorized to act as your legal representative, our office can help you track the progress of your case and advise you of any developments.
A suspected kidnapping or hostage-taking should be reported to the Dirección Operativa para la Defensa de la Libertad Personal (aka Gaula). It should also be immediately reported to the US Embassy.
Dirección Operativa para la Defensa de la Libertad Personal
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Carrera 7 No. 32-16, Piso 7, Bogota
Countrywide Toll free number 018000-515333
Investigations are conducted by:
Fiscalia General de la Nación (Attorney General’s Office)
Dirección Operativa para la Defensa de la Libertad Personal (GAULA)
Carrera 7 No. 32-16, Piso 7 y 8
For further information you can go to: http://www.policia.gov.co/
Upon the request of the Colombian government, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may assist local authorities in certain cases of kidnapping, hostage-taking and terrorism.
Special Information for cases of domestic violence
Domestic violence is a crime under the Colombian Penal Code. The National Constitution sets the guidelines for implementing prevention, solution and punishment of violence within the family. Domestic violence, including spousal abuse, remains a serious problem in Colombia. Judicial authorities may remove an abuser from the household and require counseling. Prison time is possible if the abuser causes grave harm or the abuse is recurrent; however, provisions for fines are generally not applied. The law stipulates that the government must provide victims of domestic violence with immediate protection from physical or psychological abuse. The ICBF provides safe houses and counseling for victims, but its services are dwarfed by the magnitude of the problem. In addition to fulfilling traditional family counseling functions, the ICBF family ombudsmen handle domestic violence cases. The Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office conducts regional training workshops to promote the application of domestic violence statutes. If you need immediate assistance finding a place to stay the Embassy can also provide the names of hotels or a temporary shelter.
How can the victims obtain a restraining order?
Under Colombian law, every person, who is a victim of physical or psychological abuse, insult, offence or any other form of aggression within his/her family, can ask the family commissioner, the Civil Municipality or PROMISCUO Judge, for an immediate protective measure that helps to put an end to the violence or prevent its reoccurrence. The request for a protective measure can be made personally by the victim, any other person that acts on his/her behalf, or by the family commissioner when the victim cannot do it, in writing or verbally .
The request for protection measures has to state the following clearly:
Name of requester and identity card number, if possible
Name of the victim
Name of the perpetrator and his/her address
Report of the facts
Request for necessary evidence
A commissary or judge upon receiving the petition will issue a restraining order within four hours.
“ASEDIO”- harassment or stalking in Colombia has a political connotation. It is not considered to be a violent crime.
Point of contact to report domestic violence: Local Police Stations
Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar 018000918080, 24 hours a day
The criminal report can be filed at any URI
the Prosecutor’s Office
SAU or police officer and at the CAVIF located on Cra 13 # 18-38 First Floor in Bogota.
123 (equivalent of U.S. 911) in cases of security, fire, rescue, disasters, car accidents, public services emergencies (i.e. gas leaks, short circuits, etc), health emergencies, family violence
Violence against women
Toll free number: 01-8000-112-137