When a child dies abroad many additional problems arise. You may wish or need to go to the place in which they died and then you may be in unfamiliar surroundings, possibly having to cope with complex negotiations in a language you don’t speak.
You may need to consider immediately how to convey the terrible news to people back home, bearing in mind the speed at which the media may publish the news. If your child is involved in a major disaster, you may not be certain whether or not they are on that flight or in that area and you may receive a telephone call from abroad or a visit from your local police informing you of the tragedy.
Many of the issues and questions that arise when your child dies overseas are explored in the TCF leaflet Death Abroad such as whether or not to go to the place where they died; the difficulties of getting to a remote place; the need to discover the truth of how your child died; managing different burial customs in other parts of the world; waiting for legal formalities; problems and costs involved in translating legal documents and obtaining a death certificate; repatriation of your child’s body.
The leaflet cannot cover every set of circumstances faced by parents whose child has died abroad but it does deal with some of the questions arising from visiting the country where your child died and maintaining relationships with your child’s partner and children or friends if they lived abroad.
International Liaison Director, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.fco.gov.uk or 020 7008 0218) who produce a leaflet Death Overseas – Advice for Friends and Relatives, which gives information about the role of the British Consul abroad and the help available from London.
SAMM (Support after Murder and Manslaughter) (www.samm.org.uk or 020 7735 3838) has a section for deaths that occur abroad.
Each year thousands of parents suffer the loss of a son or a daughter. Please help us to support families in their time of greatest need.