No virginity test or comments on victim’s sex life in rape cases: MHA guidelines for doctors

According to the guidelines released on July 25 this year, medical practitioners play a dual role in responding to the survivors of sexual assault.

punjab Updated: Aug 17, 2018 09:14 IST
Jatinder Kaur Tur
Jatinder Kaur Tur
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
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(Representative image )

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) guidelines on handling of rape cases have special focus on medical practitioners handling cases of rape and the dos and don’ts in the medical examination of a rape victim.

According to the guidelines released on July 25 this year, medical practitioners play a dual role in responding to the survivors of sexual assault. The first role involves providing the required medical treatment and psychological support and the second to assist survivors in their medico-legal proceedings by collecting evidence and ensuring proper documentation.

HT had earlier reported on the MHA Guidelines for Forensic Medical Examination in Sexual Assault Cases. Released on July 25 vide a letter by the MHA, the guidelines had then been sent to the director generals of police and police commissioners across India for effective follow-up in sexual assault cases against women and children.

Medical practitioners have been advised to not carry out vaginal examinations also referred to as a two-finger (or virginity) test (testing the vaginal laxity with fingers to determine if the person has experienced sexual intercourse) to establish an incident of rape. No comment can be made on the size of vaginal introitus (opening), elasticity of the vagina or hymen or about past sexual experience or habituation to sexual intercourse as it has no bearing on a case of sexual violence.

Special emphasis has been laid on gender. While the guidelines emphasise that sexual violence is commonly perpetrated against females; it can also be perpetrated against males, transgender and intersex persons and the same set of instructions have to be followed for all.

The guidelines have been framed for the MHA by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh, and issued by the Directorate of Forensic Sciences Services (DFSS), a nodal organisation of the MHA.

Speaking to HT a few weeks back, Dr SK Jain, director, CFSL Chandigarh, said the guidelines had also been sent to the home secretaries of all states and UTs; director general, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) and inspector general, women’s safety; for compliance

First Published: Aug 16, 2018 18:34 IST