Survivor centric approach needed in rape case: Supreme Court

In order to make rape law more woman and minor-friendly, the Supreme Court stressed on the need to approach sexual assault cases with a survivor centric approach.

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New Delhi, Dec 23: Do not doubt a complainant in a rape case unless it is a rare one, the Supreme Court has said. While hearing appeal in a sexual assault case involving a 9-year-old girl, the Supreme Court observed, "Why should the evidence of the girl or woman who complains of rape and molestation be viewed with the aid of spectacles fitted with lenses tinged with doubt or disbelief."

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The court also suggested that reforms must be made to the criminal justice system so that it is made more survivor centric. In more than 80 percent of such cases, the accused are known to the victims.

Rape Victim

In such cases it is difficult to report to the police since the family lives in constant fear of attracting social stigma, the court also observed.

Further the Bench headed by Justice AK Sikri said that in such cases the deterring factor for the family of the victim is that they find the entire criminal justice system intimidating.

There is no protection mechanism and the time is ripe now to bring about reforms, the Bench added.

Further the court said that there is a need to have a survivor centric approach towards the victims of sexual violence. Reforms are needed especially when dealing with cases involving children, as such incidents have a traumatic and long lasting effect on them, the Bench said.

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