Low crime reporting rates are a serious issue in India
Many people in India are not aware about the procedure for filing an FIR about sexual violence. Hence, only 1% of the total cases get filed in the police station and the rest just go unnoticed, giving the criminals a green signal to continue their wrong practices. Amnesty International took initiative to make people aware about their rights and started a program called Know Your Rights which trains people to become certified FIR agents.
1. Sexual violence is no longer limited to physical assault as the law was changed in 2013 to cover the crime in a broader sense; it now includes sexual harassment, voyeurism and stalking.
2. An FIR can be filed by a friend or a witness or any family member.
They have to provide the full consent of the survivor for the FIR and the investigation that follows. Also, they need to mention the source of the information related to the crime.
3. You can file your complaint at any nearby police station.
Under the Zero FIR Policy, you don’t need to search for a police station in the area where the crime happened. File the FIR in any nearby police station and it can later be transferred to the concerned area’s police station.
4. You can also get your complaint registered through phone or email.
But you need to visit the police station later as your thumb impression or signature is mandatory to complete the FIR process.
5. A woman police officer must be present at the time of filing an FIR about any kind of sexual violence.
Whether it is a case of sexual harassment, voyeurism, stalking, rape or gang rape, file the FIR as soon as possible. If you face any delay, give reasons for the same.
6. There are provisions for cases where the survivor is physically or mentally disabled either temporarily or permanently.
The police officer must go to a convenient place or her home to record the information.
7. A police officer can never refuse to file an FIR.
It is their duty to file an FIR of a cognizable offense. They are liable for punishment if they fail to do so. You can take strict action against the negligent police officer by filing a complaint with the magistrate.
8. Police is supposed to take action within 24 hours of filing an FIR.
If you don’t hear anything from them, contact them again.
9. One gets a court-appointed lawyer after filing an FIR, but it is always good to consult your own lawyer.
He can explain various aspects of your case in a better way.
10. Don’t forget to take your FREE copy of the registered FIR from the concerned police officer.
Important: Marital rape is not punishable by law in India. If the spouses are living separately and a rape is committed, only then can it be filed. But an aggrieved wife may file a civil case alleging sexual violence under the protection of women as per the Domestic Violence Act.
A friendlier police system and well informed citizens are needed to increase the reporting of the sexual violence crimes. For which Bengaluru police and Amnesty International together took an initiative in July 2015. Where the former Bengaluru Commissioner showed his support to the citizens and said, “We want you to be a part of the system. We are, after all, your police.” You can be an FIR agent by logging in with your gmail, facebook or linkedin account at learn.amnesty.org.in and accessing their e-learning modules. To know more about the campaign check out the video: