• Spain's news in English

Brits in Spain suffer rise in sexual assaults

George Mills · 18 Jul 2013, 13:37

Published: 18 Jul 2013 13:37 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Consular staff in Spain assisted a total of 4,658 British citizens in need last year, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) annual British Behaviour Abroad Report 2013 reveals.

That was down nearly 15 percent on the 5,405 Brits who found themselves in difficulties last year.

Spain, the country most popular with British tourists and expatriates, saw significant falls in arrests, detentions and hospitalization cases, the FCO said in yearly report .

Consular staff dealt with 101 arrests for drug offences in 2012/13, a big drop on the 143 cases seen a year earlier.

At the same time, general arrests reported to Consulates fell from to 1,599 from 1,909 a year earlier — partly because of a new focus on prioritizing the most vulnerable cases, according to a news release from the British Embassy Madrid.

But all this positive news out of Spain is offset by the FCO's finding that the reported incidence of both rapes and sexual assault was up in the country.

The latest British Behaviour Abroad report  shows that 31 British citizens asked for consular assistance after a rape in Spain in 2012/13.

That figure was a much lower 18 in the previous year.

Meanwhile, 39 UK citizens went in search of consular help after a sexual assault in the 2012/13, up from 22 the year before.

Some 42 percent of these sexual attacks were in the Balearic Islands and alcohol was a factor in many of them, the FCO report says. 

The rise in the number of reported attacks in Spain was also part of a 10 percent rise globally in the numbers of people seeking consular assistance after rapes.   

"I am deeply concerned to see an increase in the number of reported rape and sexual assault cases involving British people," said Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister Mark Simmonds.

"The priority for our consular staff is the safety and wellbeing of British travellers and we will continue to work, including with other Governments and tour operators, to help to prevent further cases and provide all possible support for victims. 

"This support includes explaining local procedures, accompanying people to the police station, helping them deal with local authorities and medical staff, and contacting friends and family at home if that is wanted," Simmonds said.

The latest British Behaviour Abroad report also looked at hospitalizations in Spain.

The FCO figures shows such cases were down 10 percent in Spain — a fact which the FCO also puts down to a focus on more critical cases.  

Story continues below…

Consulates have also strengthened ties with charities that support British nationals in less critical situations, allowing staff to focus on the most needy, the British Embassy in Madrid said in its news release.

Spain received 13,653,846 visits from British citizens in 2012/13 according to the British Behaviour Abroad Report 2013.

That put Spain in second place behind France which saw 17,100,000 visits from Brits in the same period.

Meanwhile, Spain is home to 795,784 UK citizens, putting the country in third place behind Australia and the USA.

Brits are the largest group of tourists in Spain and made up 27.1 percent of all international visits in May according to the country's national tourism authority.

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Brazilian suspect in grisly Madrid murder turns self in
Marcos Campos Nogueira is the chief suspect in the murder of a married couple and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil/Twitter

A Brazilian teenager suspected of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain has turned himself in to police.

Spain approves equal parental leave for fathers
Photo: Rietje Swart / Flickr

Fathers will now be allowed the same parental leave as new mothers, under measures agreed by Spain’s parliament.

Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Photo: Dickukne / Flickr

Do you have trouble sleeping? Then Napflix is the television channel for you.

Women in Spain will 'work for free' from October 21st
Women in Spain earn 19.3 percent less than men. Photo: World Bank Collection / Flickr

Spain's gender pay gap effectively means women won't get paid for the rest of the year, according to a new report.

The Local List
Nine incredibly  addictive television series from Spain
A still from Spanish TV series Velvet. Photo: Antena3.com

As the evenings draw in, what could be better than curling up on the sofa to watch a box set?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
jobs available