NEW DELHI: Rape survivors faced challenges in registering FIRs with Dalit survivors facing more hurdles acessing justice in Uttar Pradesh, an analysis by Commonwealth Human Rights Intiative, and Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives said.
The report documents 14 case studies of police refusal and failure to register complaints of rape survivors from the districts of Aligarh, Amroha, Auraiya, Lucknow, Jhansi, Jaunpur, and Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.
Of the 14 cases, FIRs were registered in 11 cases, and the time taken by the police ranged between two days to over seven months, the analysis documented.
Delay in registration of FIRs caused more stress to the survivors who felt re-victimised in the process.
In six cases, police registered an FIR after complaints were escalated to senior police officers or after a court order.
Survivors faced delay, ridicule, pressure, and harassment when they approached the police to report complaints and register FIRs, according to the report.
These experiences added to the trauma of the survivors. Of the survivors interviewed, seven were Dalits.
While the law mandates the presence of female officials while the crime is being reported, in 12 out of 14 cases, the survivors had to describe the details of sexual assault to male police officials.
According to the report, survivors said police often disbelieved them from the time of the crime being recorded and subjected them to misogynist remarks. Police often assumed they were taking ‘undue’ advantage of laws and making false claims, said the analysis.
Survivors also said the police would intimidate them to settle the cases outside the legal machinery.
The police also tried to coerce the survivors and suggested marrying the perpetrator was an option in order to dilute the written complaints, the report found.
The study is largely based on interviews with survivors, caseworkers, network lawyers, and staff members of a one stop crisis centre on their experiences of reporting sexual assault complaints to the police.