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Survivors > Sexual Violence > Reporting to the Police

How to report the assault

Is it mandatory/compulsory to report?
No, you are not legally obligated to report the crime. Many victims say that reporting is the last thing they want to do right after being attacked. That's perfectly understandable : reporting can seem invasive, time consuming and difficult. Still, there are many good reasons to report. Sexual Assault is a serious crime and we would encourage you to report it.

How do I report the assault to police?
To report to the police dial 100 directly or visit a hospital emergency room and tell the doctor or nurse you have been sexually assaulted. The hospital will inform the police and will also provide you with medical support and forensic evidence collection if required.

What if I need time to think about whether I want to pursue prosecution?
Understandably, many people aren't ready to make the decision about prosecution immediately after an attack. It's normal to want time to think about the decision and talk it over with friends and family. If you think you might want to pursue prosecution, but haven't decided for sure, we recommend that you report to a health facility and undergo a medical examination right away, while the evidence is still present and your memory is still detailed. If prosecution is pursued at a later stage, the chance of success will be much higher if you reported, and had evidence collected, immediately after the attack.

Can I report to police even if I have no physical injuries?
Yes. In fact, most sexual assaults do not result in physical injuries. So, the lack of such injuries should not deter you from reporting. It's also important to get medical care and to be tested for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, even if you think you aren't injured. And keep in mind that sexual assault can cause injuries, often internal, that aren't visible. Many hospitals have special equipment that can detect such hidden injuries.

What's the reporting process?
The police will come to you (either in the hospital or anywhere else that you prefer), take a statement about what occurred, and file a First Information Report (FIR). It helps to write down every detail you can remember, as soon as possible, so you can communicate the details to the police.

The police interview may take a long time depending on the circumstances of your case. Some questions will probably feel intrusive, and the officer will probably go over the details of your attack several times.  It is the officer's job to get every detail down precisely, to make the strongest possible case against the assailant, but if you are feeling uncomfortable, you can stop the process. You can also request a counselor or another trusted person to be present while the questioning is in process. In the sections below, we provide information about the various stages of the police and investigation process. 




FIR
- FIR stands for first information report. It is the documentation of the complaint given to the police which contain information regarding the commission of offence. It is a formal complaint based on which the police begins investigation.
- The FIR need not be filed by you yourself. Any person acting on your behalf- e.g. Parent, relative, friend, guardian can also act as the informant.
- According to section 154 Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), any information given to the police orally or in writing, pertaining to a cognizable offence has to be converted into an FIR.
- The information given to the police can be given orally or in writing. When it is given orally, it is the responsibility of the police to convert into a written complaint with the statement of the informant written verbatim. Once written,it needs to be read out to the informant and explained in a language that is understood and signature is to be taken. (Section 154 (1) Cr.PC)
- It is the right of the informant to get a copy of the FIR. (Section.154 (2) Cr.PC)
- An FIR in case of sexual assault must be filed by a Senior Police Inspector or senior officer.
- If the survivor is a woman and provides the information herself then the FIR shall be registered by a woman police officer or any woman officer. (Section. 154 (1)Cr.PC Proviso) However in the absence of a woman police officer, a male police officer can record an FIR in the presence of a woman police constable.
- If the police refuse to file an FIR, you have the right to approach the Magistrate Court which can order the police to file the FIR. (As per section 156(3) CrPC)
- The FIR can be filed in any police station, not just one under whose jurisdiction the incident occurred. It is the responsibility of the police station where the FIR is filed to transfer the case to the police station where the incident occurred. These are called ZERO number FIRs.(Mumbai Police Rulebook Part 3 Rule no. 119-A)
- Once the information of commission of offence is given to the police, it is the responsibility of the police to take your statement in any place that your are comfortable in. This may be your home, the hospital or any other place. You can request the presence of any person that you are comfortable with or request that a person not be present, if uncomfortable while giving your statement. (Amendment to section 157 CrPC by The Code Of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008)
- After filing of the FIR, statements of various people associated with the incident will be taken. The statement is an account of what the individual has narrated.
- The FIR will form a part of the Chargesheet that is filed in the court by the police on completion of the investigation.
In case of threat or intimidation after filing of the FIR to you or your family
- It is possible that after filing an FIR the accused will try to intimidate the survivor or the family by giving threats or using other tactics. In such cases,the survivor can file a non-cognizable complaint with the police, which will form a part of the Chargesheet eventually. The police is also required to take action against these threats.
- Survivor can write an application to the police requesting police protection citing thatt here is a threat to life of the survivor or her family.

Panchnama
       

 The panchanama is a statement of persons present at the time of arrest, search and seizure.
- The presence of at least 2 panchas is mandated by section 100 CrPC. These panchas or witnesses must be independent and respectable people.
- The Panchnama of the place where the incident is said to have occurred is termed as a Spot Panchnama.
- Seizure Panchnama: Generally done when the clothes are seized for proof to ascertain that the clothes taken as evidence are the same that were worn by the accused.
- Arrest Panchnama: Generally done when the accused is arrested.
 Statement under 164 CrPC
- You (ie the survivor) or any witness can recorded their statement in front of the Magistrate court before trial begins. Such a statement has evidentiary value in the court of law. A request for recording such a statement must be made to the police.
- The statement is to be recorded during the process of investigation and hence,before a Charge sheet is filed in court.
- It is advisable (especially if the survivor is a child) to do this as the case might come up for trial after a considerable amount of time has passed after the incident, and the survivor may not remember all details at the trial stage.
Chargesheet
: Chargesheet is the final report filed by the police in the court.
- This report is intimation to the magistrate that upon investigation into a cognizable offence the Investigation Officer has been able to procure sufficient evidence for the court to inquire into the offence and the necessary information is being sent to the court. (K.VeeraswamiVs Union Of India (1991) 3 SCC 655)
- According to section 173 CrPC, this typically contains the name of the persons (accused); type of information; names of the people who are aware of the circumstances of the case (witnesses who will be called in court to testify);offence (details of the charges levied against the accused); whether the police believes that the offence has been committed and if yes, then by whom.
- A chargesheet does not establish guilt of the accused.
- A Chargesheet is typically filed in court within 90 to 120 days after filing the FIR. However, this might be extended under special conditions such as if the accused is absconding or is unknown.
Police remand, Judicial remand and Bail
- As soon as an accused is arrested, he is taken to the lock up after which the police must produce him in front of the magistrate within 24 hours.
- When the investigation cannot be completed in these 24 hours then he is produced before the magistrate and the accusation against him is well founded, the magistrate can order police remand of up to 15 days.
- These 15 days are used to conduct investigation and collect evidence without the interference or fear of tampering by the accused.
- On completion of these 15 days, the accused is presented in front of the magistrate once again and if the investigation is not completed, then judicial remand can be ordered.
- Judicial remand cannot be longer than 60 days when the punishment for the crime the person is accused of is less than 10 years, and not more than 90 days when the punishment is more than 10 years.
- The accused can apply for bail at any point during the investigation.
- When the individual is accused of a crime that has a punishment of 7 years or more,the bail application will be denied by Magistrate court and the accused will be asked to apply to the Sessions Court.
- You have the right to contest the bail. You can do so by submitting an application to the Public Prosecutor (the lawyer appointed by the State) or the Investigating Officer. 
- It is your right to appoint a 'watching advocate' who can keep you informed of when the accused applies for bail, when chargesheet is filed, when the first hearing is to be held and so on, by going to the court regularly on your behalf.







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