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Protection for sexual assault survivors: Kerala High Court suggests steps, seeks State response

1. Publicize the toll free number ‘112’ as an Emergency Response Support System to be known to every citizen, so that a child abuse or sexual violence victim can access it on requirement;

2. Feed all information received on the toll free number into a digital system or register which could be relayed as fast as possible to the jurisdictional police station;

3. Calls to toll-free numbers will be attended by well-sensitised and trained personnel who will also make sure that the victim is given sufficient support;

4. The victim of the child abuse or sexual violence should be contacted via telephone or personally, without summoning him/her to the police station in any manner immediately after information is received by police control room or station;

5. Competent officer will thereupon record the statement of the victim, thus leading to registration of FIR under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC);

6. During recording of statement, the mandatory provision under CrPC to record it at the place of residence or a place of the victim’s choice as far as practical by a police officer in the presence of parents/guardian/near relatives or social worker shall be complied with;

7. Within 24 hours of FIR, the Investigating Officer must assign a Victim Liaison Officer who shall then contact the victim immediately;

8. Simultaneously, the Investigating Officer will disclose to the victim the numbers of the ‘One Stop Crisis Centre’ and that of the ‘Victim’s Rights Centre (VRC), who can step in to provide psychological support and ensure no further trauma happens;

9. Ensure that the victim has 24 hour access to the Victim Liaison Officer and/or to the One Stop Crisis Centre/VRC;

10. The One Stop Crisis Centre/VRC will also offer legal support as may be required to the victim and will work on promoting his/her return to normal life, through every facilitation as may be necessary, for as long as the victim requires or at least until the trial is completed.

Source: Barandbench

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