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Demystifying Medical Evidence; Guidance Documents for Police, Judiciary, Public Prosecutors

Gaps in responding to “sexual violence” came into public notice subsequent to force after rape and murder of a young medical professional in New Delhi .The government of India set up an expert committee, Justice Verma Commission ( JVC)  to review the gaps in rape response in India . Subsequent to the report findings the rape law was amended to include all forms of sexual violence such as oral, anal sexual assaults as well as non penetrative sexual violence. JVC made specific recommendation to ministries of home, health, women and child and the like to develop a sensitive response to sexual violence survivors. MoHFW took the lead in establishing a protocol and medico legal guidelines for rape response and issued it to different states for implementation.

 The Guidance documents for the Police, Judiciary and Public Prosecutor are situated in the context of demystifying medical evidence to them. These guidelines  were developed by CEHAT with the contribution of the task force inclusive of Feminist lawyers, mental health experts, health researchers and representatives from health ministry. The documents put forth the role of all the three and the objective is to provide a scientific understanding about the medico legal care to police in the context of sexual violence.

Police: Document aims to equip them with scientific understanding of medical evidence, enabling them to frame requisitions to the health professionals regarding medico-legal examination and evidence.

Judiciary: The document aims to assist courts with the scientific understanding of medical evidence, enable them to frame questions for doctors as expert witnesses in instance of sexual violence.

Public Prosecutor: The document aims to assist public prosecutors in presenting the medical evidence in the courts, guide them to enable presenting medical professionals as expert witnesses and to prevent irrelevant and unscientific questions related to medical evidence in court proceedings.

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