Traveling Abroad

Resources for Penn Travelers Abroad

The University’s commitment to fostering an environment free from violence and abuse extends to all members of the Penn community traveling abroad. The resources and policies outlined on this website apply on and off campus, including international programs, study abroad opportunities, and university affiliated trips.

If you or someone you know experiences any form of sexual violence, relationship violence, stalking, or sexual harassment while traveling abroad, the following resources are available.

Penn Emergency Contacts

Laws, medical services, and cultural norms surrounding issues of interpersonal violence can be vastly different depending on where you are in the world. The Penn resources below can help you assess any safety concerns if you are considering whether or not to contact local authorities. 

Special Services Unit in the Division of Public Safety 
4040 Chestnut Street
24 Hour Helpline: 215.898.6600
Special Services offers comprehensive victim support for any member of the University community who had been a victim of interpersonal violence. Special Services has advocates on call 24-hours a day that can provide options counseling, hospital and court accompaniment, and take formal police reports. They can help you navigate the local reporting structure and recommend safety measures.

International SOS (ISOS)
Penn affiliated travel abroad: +1-215-942-8478 or 1-800-523-6586
Penn membership number: 11BSGC000012
All Penn students and employees traveling on Penn-affiliated trips are members of International SOS, Penn’s emergency medical and security assistance provider. ISOS can put you in touch with resources at Penn and/or can connect you with local resources as needed. They can also assist you in navigating the local laws and protections regarding sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking.

U.S. Government Resources

Embassy or Consulate 

U.S. Consular Assistance to U.S. Victims of Crime 

State Department Emergency Numbers: 
You can call the State Department’s emergency numbers from the U.S. & Canada 1-888-407-4747 or from Overseas +1 202-501-4444.

International Resources & Support Services (Not Affiliated with Penn)

Pathways to Safety International: Phone, email or live chat with staff in the Crisis Center. Pathways to Safety International  Provides sexual assault prevention and response regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation or location worldwide.

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN): Toll-free 24/7 hotline for sexual assault counseling and referrals: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). RAINN also offers a hotline that provides live, secure, anonymous crisis support for victims of sexual violence, their friends and families over RAINN’s website. The online hotline is free of charge and available 24/7.

U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women: Information about local sexual assault victim assistance coalitions.

Support at Home

Sometimes, students don’t want to talk about an experience with sexual violence, relationship violence or stalking abroad until they return to campus. In this case, know that there are many resources and support services available to you, including the Penn Women’s Center and Counseling and Psychological Services. A list of all the Penn resources can be found here.

Know Before You Go

  • Before you go, familiarize yourself with your host culture’s attitudes towards gender roles, ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, and different religions.
  • Laws and systems of justice are not universal. Sexual assault and domestic violence may be handled very differently from the United States.
  • Be aware that perpetrators of abuse and harassment often prey on people who they perceive to be vulnerable. If you look lost or uncomfortable, or if you are incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, you may be a more likely target.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe of uncomfortable, it is probably for a good reason.
  • Remember that sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking is never the fault of the victim.