Investigation rules: Rape kit must follow all sexual assault allegations

New rules ensure that all rape charges will require police to collect DNA sample, send them to laboratory for matching


Shamsul Islam July 13, 2011

FAISALABAD:


Investigation officials from the Faisalabad police department have evolved a new strategy to allow speedy action in rape cases.


According to police officials, investigation officials are now bound to conduct DNA tests for rape victims at the government’s expense and the results of these exams will be delivered within 24-48 hours of the testing. “The new measures have been taken to ensure that we can identify the rapist in time and proceed to send a search party,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Investigation Mujahid Akbar Khan.

Khan said that the new measures could lead to a dramatic change in the manner of dealing with rape cases. “Earlier we couldn’t proceed with an investigation without a rape kit of the victim and often these either expired because of the time lapse, other times the victims were unable to afford the procedure and testing which costs an average of Rs15,000,” he said. “Now the state has asked us to immediately file a case and conduct the tests at government expense. The delivery of results sped up so we will be able to improve the system,” he added. Under the new rules, all investigation officers are bound to conduct DNA tests of rape victims at government expense and to issue a rape kit the moment the complaint is filed. SSP Khan said that it would be mandatory for the all investigation police officials to ensure that a DNA test was ordered in all cases where involving allegations of rape. “This will limit both the blame on the police for not pursuing the matter as well as chances that the charges are being levelled over some rivalry. The case will only be pursued once the test results have been received,” Khan said.

The new directives have been issued following a number of complaints in various cases where it was observed that the allegations of rape were being levelled by parties involved in property disputes or long-standing rivalries. “The charge is often used to settle scores with rivals,” Khan said. “It is also true that police investigation officials often end up discharging the accused of the rape cases because of lack of evidence. Now we will have the evidence before we proceed,” he said.

The directive says that all cases where rape allegations are being levelled will require investigation officials to ensure a DNA test from the concerned notified labs. The validity of the evidence will act as the basis for the investigation. The directive also made it mandatory to attach a DNA report in all rape investigation files and no accused should be discharged until a negative report is received from the labs.  The directive also states that failure to follow these instructions will mean that stern action is taken against the investigation officer in charge. “The decision has been taken for swift proceedings in the investigation and to relieve the victims of the heavy charges of the tests that cost Rs15,000. This cost will now be borne by the Investigation Branch of the Police Department,” Khan said.

“All investigation officials must arrange for the immediate medical test of the victim and record her statement without wasting any time,” Khan said. He has also instructed all concerned parties to make the DNA Test an integral part of their records in the investigation and challan.

Police officials said that the DNA testing was available at Punjab University’s Micro Biology Department in Lahore and cost Rs15,000. “We will now receive test results within a maximum of 2 days,” said inspector Javed Ikram.

“If the victim has documented evidence of rape to support her version before the court it will save time as well as build the case. This could mean that rape case proceedings will be dealt with swiftly by both police and the courts,” said Advocate Nadeem Sahu, adding “It will also save the victim from the embarrassment of lengthy cross examination in the court”.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2011.

COMMENTS (8)

Shakir Lakhani | 10 years ago | Reply

There is something wrong here. About two years back, I asked a DNA lab in Lahore how much it would cost to conduct DNA tests (to prove if a boy was the brother of a girl, or the son of a dead man), the reply was "not more than Rs. 2,000. This is much less than rs. 15,000.

maryam | 10 years ago | Reply

@malik: its called a rape kit around the world.

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