According to a ruling of the Supreme Court in 2000 SC (State of Karnataka v. Manjanna), in case of sexual assault of a woman or a child, no medical facility in the country can refuse medical attention, even if the victim has not filed an FIR. In fact, sometimes going for medical aid after filing an FIR may result in loss of evidence, especially when the woman or the girl child is menstruating.
Section 164 A of the Indian Penal Code lays down the rules to be followed when examining a victim of sexual assault.
FOLLOW THE STEPS:
- The victim should be examined by a registered medical practitioner employed in a hospital run by the Government or a local authority and in the absence of a such a practitioner, by any other registered medical practitioner. Either way, the consent of the victim, or in the case of minors or victims with mental handicap, the consent of their parents is necessary before any procedure is conducted.
- Some of the things that the medical practitioner must include in the medical report are:
- the name and address of the victim and of the person by whom she was brought;
- the age of the victim;
- the description of material taken from the victim for DNA profiling;
- marks of injury, if any, on the victim;
- general mental condition of the victim;
- The time of the examination and that the victim’s consent has been taken for conducting the examination.
- Other important tests that the medical practitioner should usually conduct are:
- Tests to check if the victim has contracted any sexually transmitted disease – sometimes the victim will be asked to report back after a few weeks for follow-ups.
- To see if the victim has been infected with HIV or other such viruses. There are also tests for Hepatitis B.
- In case of female victims, to check for pregnancy. In this case, please look at the information about abortion .
- The medical examiner might also refer the victim for consultation on mental or psychological health, or counselling.
In the case of a girl child, a WOMAN medical practitioner must conduct the examination.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
- The two finger test is no longer required for evidence and can be refused by the victim. Vaginal tests are required only if medically indicated.
- An FIR is not required for medical assistance. Denial of medical aid is punishable by jailtime under section 166B of the Indian Penal Code.
- In case an FIR is lodged, the police should take the victim for medical assistance within 24 hours of the complaint.
- The patient should be explained every procedure and their requirement, before the procedure is done.
- The registered medical practitioner shall, without delay forward the report to the investigation officer who shall forward it to the Magistrate.
- Please keep a copy of all medical reports, which are to be given to you free of cost.
- The medical assistance should be free of cost, under the Protection of Children from Sexual offences Act 2012 and the amendment to sections 376,376A-E.
- If counselling is suggested by a doctor or such, please do not ignore the suggestion. Sexual violence can take a toll on you ways you may not even imagine. Do not take the healing process lightly. Nakshatra offers free counselling for victims of sexual violence. Here are some things a victim can do when he or she is feeling at their lowest.
To find out more about sexual violence, laws against them, etc., please read here.