- Crimes Occurring in the Madrid Consular District
- Crimes Occurring in the Barcelona Consular District
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, sexual assault is “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” If you are a victim of a sexual assault:
- Try to get to a safe place, far away from the aggressor.
- Contact someone who can help you, such as a friend, family member, or the police. You can contact the police in Spain by calling 112.
If you are the victim of a sexual assault in Catalonia, Aragon, and Andorra:
- If you need urgent medical attention: Call 112, ask for an English-speaking operator, and explain your situation. 112 operators will direct you to the closest police station or medical facility to assist you.
- If you decide to report the assault: In Catalonia, the toll-free number is 900-900-120. In Aragon, the number is 900-504-405. Social workers are available to speak with callers and direct them to the nearest hospital. In Andorra, call 181. In Barcelona, you likely will be directed to emergency services at a medical facility called Hospital Clinic. In Andorra, you likely will be directed to the Hospital Nostra Senyora de Meritxell. Reporting a sexual assault may take a long time. If possible, have someone accompany you through the reporting process.
- What to expect at the police station: Reporting a sexual assault at the police station means you give a statement about the assault to a police officer (male or female, depending on availability). You may request an English-language interpreter at the police station at any time. Read the report carefully and sign it only when it says what you want it to say. After you have given your statement, you will be informed in writing of your rights as a sexual assault victim, next steps in the process, and should be taken to the hospital for a sexual assault forensic exam. In some cases, over the next few days, you may be required to participate in a crime scene walkthrough, lineup identification, or confirm your statement in front of an investigating judge. If you have any questions about the process, please contact the Consulate General at +34 93-280-2227 or via email to barcelonaACS@state.gov.
- What to expect at the hospital: You should consult with the local police by calling 112 or one of the numbers listed above before going to the hospital. The hospital should treat you for any injuries that you may have suffered and should conduct blood tests and a gynecological examination. The reports of the medical examination may become part of the criminal investigation, as forensic evidence. The examination may take a significant amount of time and include periods of waiting. Experts recommend not to shower or wash clothes to preserve evidence after a sexual assault.
- Medical attention when you do not want to report to the police: In Barcelona, you may seek treatment for injuries related to the assault in most hospitals and clinics, but for medical attention directly related to the sexual assault, these facilities will refer you to Hospital Clinic (open 24 hours a day). If you do not wish to report the assault to the police, Hospital Clinic will provide you full services all the same. Outside of Barcelona in Catalonia, Aragon, and Andorra, medical facilities will provide treatment for injuries related to the assault, but will not perform a sexual assault forensic exam.
- Criminal justice system: The U.S. and Spanish legal systems are very different. Unlike in the United States, in Spain, a court and a judge will become involved in most cases from the beginning. The investigating judge (juez de instrucción) is similar to a prosecutor in the United States. You may be asked to appear in front of this judge to confirm your statement at an early stage of the case. After the phase with the investigating judge, the case may be tried. The trial will take place in a different court, with a panel of three judges or a jury. As a victim, you are not required to retain an attorney, but Spanish law allows for that possibility. If you do retain one, the attorney will be able to inform you of the different motions and steps in the procedure. You can find a list of English-speaking attorneys here. There are some advocacy organizations that will help you, at no cost, to navigate the judicial system. These organizations include the Barcelona Lawyer’s Bar, Legal Orientation Services, the Crime Victim Attention Office (OAVD), the Aragon Lawyer’s Bar, and the Andorra Lawyer’s Bar, as well as local attorneys and translators. Their resources are limited and they may not have English-speakers on staff at all times.
- Contact us: Call the Consulate General at +34 93-280-2227 or email us at barcelonaACS@state.gov and we will direct you to local resources that can best help you. For assistance outside of regular business hours, please call the Embassy in Madrid at +34 91-587-2200. This number is answered 24/7, year-round. We publish a list of English-speaking doctors, attorneys (PDF 600K) and translators on our website who may be of assistance. If you have any questions about the process, next steps, or other issues that do not require an immediate response, email us at barcelonACS@state.gov and we will get back to you the next working day.