'Don't mention rape victims' previous sexual history'

The guidelines prepared by the CSFL provide elaborate procedures to be followed by doctors while conducting medical examination of sexual assault victims.

Shaming rape victims by talking about their previous sexual experiences in medical reports will be a thing of past with the government issuing fresh guidelines for doctors on conducting examinations on such people.

The guidelines prepared by the Chandigarh-based Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CSFL) provide elaborate procedures to be followed by doctors while conducting medical examination of sexual assault victims.

While insisting that per vaginum examination, popularly known as two-finger test, should not be conducted for establishing sexual assault on a woman or a minor girl, the guidelines emphasise that victims' previous sexual experience need not be commented upon in reports.

"...no comment should be made on the size of vaginal introitus, elasticity of the vagina or hymen or about past sexual experience or habituation to sexual intercourse as it has no bearing on a case of sexual violence," said the 'Guidelines for Forensic Medical Examination in Sexual Assault Cases'.

The direction in the guidelines comes as a positive signs as contents of the reports had been sometimes used by the accused to paint the victim in bad light and further her trauma. "A sexual assault is a sexual assault. Whether the victim had sexual experience earlier is immaterial. Such mention is of not much help in these cases," a senior investigating official said.

It also said that sexual violence is "commonly perpetrated against females" but it may also be perpetrated against males, transgender and inter-sex persons".

According to the CFSL guidelines, the rational for collecting forensic evidence is to link a suspect to the victim of the crime and that doctors should must understand the types of evidences present in sexual assault cases. "Specimen collection should be performed soon after the incident occurred in order to minimise loss and degradation of the biological samples," it said.

"Proper management of biological evidence is critical for forensic DNA profiling as it affects the integrity of the final results. Due to this speculation, special attention has to be paid for examination of the victim and also other steps involved in selection, collection, packing, sealing, labelling, storage, preservation, transportation and maintenance of biological samples," it said.

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'Don't mention rape victims' previous sexual history'

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