How Safe Are Expats And Brits Abroad?

As France comes to grips with the devastating aftermath of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris in which 129 people were killed, one question expats and travellers are asking is how safe is travelling or living overseas?

The Paris attacks are the latest in an ever-growing list of terror recent atrocities including a bomb downing a Russian airliner in Egypt, suicide killers attacking holidaymakers in Tunisia and the Charlie Hebdo mayhem in Paris earlier this year.

Islamic State backed terrorists want to strike fear into the lives of people going about their business and pleasure, so what are the risks for expats and travellers?

Coincidentally this week, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has released statistics in response to a freedom of information inquiry asking how many British nationals have been murdered overseas since January 2011.

Each number represents a tragedy, but when compared to the millions of expats and trips abroad made by British nationals, the annual number is consistent and a small percentage of Brits on the move around the world at any one time.

The figures are:

British Nationals Murdered Abroad 2011-2015



Source: The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)

Note: The figure for 2015 is up to September

The FCO points out that the figures may not be complete as foreign governments are not obliged to report deaths to a British embassy or diplomatic mission.

The average is 73 deaths a year.

Keeping safe in a foreign country

Travelling to some countries increases the risk of being a victim of crime, but the average murder rate has remained the same over the past five years despite the general feeling that the wave of terrorism emanating from the Middle East has increased.

The FCO publishes regular travel alerts and updates to help Brits abroad.

Find out more: Latest travel information by country

The FCO also has a compensation scheme for victims of terrorism overseas open to victims and their families for:

  • Hostage crisis at in Amenas, Algeria (16 January 2013)
  • Kidnap of Setraco employees in Jama’are, Nigeria (16 February 2013)
  • Attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya (21 September 2013)
  • Attack at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, Tunisia (18 March 2015)
  • Attack at Port el Kantaoui near Sousse, Tunisia (26 June 2015)