Want to report a sexual crime? Here's what you need to know
Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | November 26, 2014 | 07:03 pm IST In 2013, 3,09,546 women in India reported some form of sexual violence, which is a 26.7% increase from the previous year- Amnesty International India. Sexual violence against women in India is rising, however, not all cases of such violence are reported with the police. The reasons why women survivors are apprehensive about reporting sexual violence can be many. From the stigma attached to the survivors of sexual violence to lack of support from friends or family, registering a complaint with the police might seem to be an arduous task for many. One of the major reasons why women, who have been victims of sexual violence, do not feel confident enough to file a complaint is because of lack of knowledge about the laws or even about how to file an FIR, according to Amnesty International India. Sexual violence today is no longer limited to rape. It includes sexual harassment, assault, voyeurism, stalking, trafficking and other forms of rape. An FIR can be registered if a woman faces either of these forms of sexual violence. In an attempt to raise awareness about reporting sexual violence, Amnesty International India in a recent report lays down the process on how a woman who has experienced sexual violence can register an FIR. The report titled Ready to Report explains among other things, what is an FIR, who can file an FIR and how to file the FIR. Here is the report in brief: An FIR or First Information Report is an account of the crime committed from the survivor's perspective, and is the first document that needs to be prepared by the police to initiate investigations. An FIR need not necessarily be filed by a survivor. A witness to the incident can also file an FIR on behalf of the survivor, so can a friend of the survivor who knows the crime in detail. This however needs to be done with the consent of the survivor and her willingness to be part of the investigation once the complaint is registered. An FIR can be filed in person or even through a call or email by the survivor. The FIR can be lodged in any police station and the complaint will be transferred to the concerned police station. The police must go to the woman to take her complaint if she is physically or mentally disabled, fully or partially. In the case of offences like sexual harassment, voyeurism, stalking, rape & gang rape, the report must only be recorded by a woman police officer. The woman can give her complaint in the written form or even verbally. The officer in charge of the report will have to file a written copy. The sooner an FIR is registered after a crime takes place, the better. Information given in the FIR should be 'as detailed and explicit as possible'. The detail in the report needs to be cross-checked. One can ask for changes to be made if necessary. The person filing the FIR will need to sign the final report following which a copy of the report should be sent to the survivor or her representative, who has filed the FIR, within 24 hours. The copy given to the survivor or her representative will contain an FIR number which can be used for future follow-ups regarding the case. The process of filing an FIR is now complete. The police, under no circumstances, can deny to register an FIR. If one does face such a situation, the complainant can approach a higher authority like an SP or DCP). The District Magistrate, Chief Judicial Magistrate or Chief Metropolitan Magistrate can also be approached if the SP or DCP refuses to take the complaint. Read Amnesty International India‚Äôs report in detail here: Ready to Report¬†
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