Kerala HC seeks ideas to shield sexual assault survivors from more trauma

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In a move to benefit survivors of sexual assault, the Kerala High Court on Thursday invited recommendations from lawyers on how they can be protected from further trauma on account of the investigation process.

Justice Devan Ramachandran while considering the plea of a survivor who alleged harassment from the accused as well as certain police officers, reiterated its stand that survivors of sexual assault have to be thoroughly protected from further harassment or ridicule as it takes a lot of courage to come forward and say they have been attacked and asked lawyers to come up with their recommendations on it.

The court observed that even though there are protocols in place to protect and support such sexual assault victims, tragically many a time these are found to be not effectively implemented.

He said in some cases, accusations are seen to be made against her on account of the process of investigation, which further traumatises her and subject her to harassment and ridicule.

The Court made it clear that this should never happen and that such situations need to be arrested. “We should ensure all the victims of sexual assault are fully protected and that the full might of the law is behind them,” said the court.

The Judge also stated that it was not a petty matter and that the principles of confidentiality were in place to ensure that the victim is not subjected to public gaze at all.

The court further added that once a woman makes a complaint of sexual assault and an FIR is lodged, she should not have to go back to the police station for anything else.

“Whether the allegations in the complaint are right or wrong, are immaterial and to be considered at the time of trial,” added the court and posted the case for January 12.

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