Medical examination of rape victim in india

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

Article

Reading Time:

In India, the medical examination of a rape victim is conducted to gather evidence, assess injuries, and provide medical care to the survivor. The examination should be conducted with utmost sensitivity and respect for the survivor’s dignity. The process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Approach the Proper Authorities: If a person is a victim of rape or sexual assault, they should immediately report the incident to the police. The police will register a First Information Report (FIR) and assist in arranging a medical examination.
  2. Seek Medical Attention: The survivor should be taken to a government-authorized medical facility or a designated hospital for the medical examination. It is essential to ensure that the examination is conducted by a qualified medical practitioner, preferably a female doctor, to make the survivor feel more comfortable.
  3. Consent and Privacy: Before the examination begins, the medical practitioner must obtain informed consent from the survivor or their guardian if the survivor is a minor. The survivor’s privacy and confidentiality should be strictly maintained throughout the examination.
  4. Interview and Medical History: The doctor will first talk to the survivor, understanding the incident’s details and any injuries or symptoms they may be experiencing. This interview is essential to collect relevant information and approach the examination with care.
  5. Physical Examination: The doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination of the survivor. This may include examining the genital area for signs of injury, collecting swabs from different parts of the body to gather potential evidence, and documenting any visible injuries or bruising.
  6. Collection of Evidence: The medical practitioner will collect samples, such as swabs from the survivor’s body, clothes, and other relevant items, which may contain the perpetrator’s DNA or other forensic evidence.
  7. Medical Treatment: Medical treatment and counseling should be provided to the survivor as needed, including preventive measures against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and emergency contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
  8. Forensic Report and Medico-Legal Certificate: The doctor will prepare a detailed medical report documenting their findings. This report is crucial for legal proceedings. The survivor will also be issued a medico-legal certificate, which is an important legal document.
  9. Preserving Evidence: The collected evidence must be properly labeled, sealed, and handed over to the investigating officer to maintain the chain of custody.
  10. Psychological Support: Survivors of sexual assault may require emotional and psychological support. Access to counseling services should be made available to them.
  11. Testifying in Court: If the survivor chooses to pursue legal action, they may be required to testify in court. The medical examination report will serve as essential evidence during the trial.

It is essential to remember that the medical examination of a rape victim is a sensitive and complex process. Proper training and protocols should be followed by medical professionals to ensure that the survivor is treated with empathy, respect, and dignity throughout the examination. Additionally, the survivor’s consent and choice should be respected at every stage of the process.