Govt issues strict hospital code for rape exams

 The city health department on Friday issued new guidelines for rapid response by hospitals for medico-legal case examination of sexual assault victims.

Consultations on this matter had been going on following the December 16 Delhi gang rape.

The city government felt that the entire step-by-step procedure must be made smooth and hassle-free to handle MLC examination of victims and ensure their privacy.

Health minister A K Walia said the director or medical superintendents of hospitals have been directed to identify a separate room for examination of victims.

They have also been told to circulate the number and location of such a room to all heads of department and doctors on emergency duty from time to time.

“Hospitals have been directed to give proper furniture, basic equipment and adequate stock of sexual assault forensic evidence kit in the specified room,” said Walia.

“Medical officers in charge are being instructed to nominate nodal officers to put into place the infrastructure and carry out supervision on a daily basis,” added Walia.

“The nodal officers will ensure that good practices on proper collection of MLC and evidence are observed,” he said.

If the victim’s clothes are taken as evidence, hospitals must give spare clothes to the victim along with arrangement for washing up after the examination.

The director or medical superintendent are also being told to arrange periodic training session to doctors on protocol and guidelines on MLC examination and reporting.

“They will organise sensitisation workshops in collaboration with the Delhi Commission for Women. Hospital directors will provide doctors for counseling the victim,” said Walia.

“If they are unable to provide doctors, arrangement will be made from Crisis Intervention Centres,” said Walia.

The new guidelines will ensure due care and proper MLC examination of sexual assault victims in the shortest possible time, and will help overcome the existing inadequate management practices, he added.

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