What to do in the event of a sexual assault?

If you are the victim of a sexual assault, as part of The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010.

You have the right to receive a security guide, a written summary which describes where to go and who to talk with if a crime occurs. The security guide must also include criminal law procedures for crimes committed in any waters the vessel might travel through during the voyage, as well as a list of U.S. embassy and consulate locations in foreign countries the cruise ship will be visiting.

You have the right to have a sexual assault forensic exam on board. Cruise ships must have the equipment and materials for performing this medical exam, should a sexual assault occur.

You have the right to confidentiality when you request and receive support services.
Any information you provide to medical staff, counselors, and other support staff while receiving services after a sexual assault must remain confidential; this includes information disclosed during a sexual assault forensic exam and any other support services available.

Note: If the victim or perpetrator of a sexual assault is an American national, and their ship sails from or to a U.S. port, then the FBI will have jurisdiction over the case. In other circumstances, it’s more complicated to determine which agency —or even which country— has jurisdiction. The principal law under which the U.S. exercises its Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction is set forth in Section 7 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. This statute provides, in relevant part, that the U.S. has jurisdiction over crimes committed on a ship if:

The ship, regardless of flag, is a U.S.-owned vessel, either whole or in part, regardless of the nationality of the victim or the perpetrator, when such vessel is within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States and out of the jurisdiction of any particular state;

The offense by or against a U.S. national was committed outside the jurisdiction of any nation;

The crime occurred in the U.S. territorial sea (within 12 miles of the coast), regardless of the nationality of the vessel, the victim or the perpetrator; or

The victim or perpetrator is a U.S. national on any vessel during a voyage that departed from or will arrive in a U.S. port.

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If you are outside the U.S., you can find support from the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you’re visiting. Consular officers are available for emergency assistance 24/7.

They can connect you with avariety of resources to help, wherever you are.

They do not provide direct legal counsel.


From the U.S. & Canada: 1.888.407.4747
From overseas: +1 202.501.444

Reporting to the FBI: If you are on board the ship when the crime occurs, contact the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard about the crime to receive advice on how to proceed.

FBI headquarters in Washington, DC: 202.324.3000

(305) 358-0000