Prompt and sensitive handling of rape cases | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 27, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:30 AM, June 04, 2015


Prompt and sensitive handling of rape cases

Police must be held to account if they are prejudiced

RIGHTS organisations have been protesting the insensitivity and sometimes discrimination shown by law enforcers when dealing with cases of sexual assault and rape. Five such organisations have filed a writ petition to seek justice. This has led the High Court to order the government to make sure police accept rape complaints instantly and provide required services to the victim without prejudice. The delay in recording the case of a brutal gang rape of a young Garo woman on May 21 and in sending her to a victim support centre, has brought to the fore that women and girls from minority communities are even more vulnerable, not only to sexual assault but also to non-cooperation of law enforcers. The court's rule demands an explanation from the government regarding this delay. The rule also asks the authorities to provide reasons why they should not be directed to take action against the police responsible for the delay and compensate the victim.

The High Court has further asked the petitioners to suggest names to form an experts committee to review the law for prevention of sexual harassment and violence. These are positive developments in the backdrop of a state of helplessness felt by victims who often have to see their rapists/assaulters go scot free. This happens because of innumerable reasons, the most important one being the unhelpful, often hostile attitude of the law enforcers in the way they treat victims. This only hinders proper investigation and bringing the rapists to book.

We applaud the rights organisations and the High Court for putting pressure on the government to make sure law enforcers are prompt and sensitive when dealing with cases which the victims file under tremendous physical and mental trauma.

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