Trigger Warning: The following content contains information on physical violence and sexual violence which some readers may find disturbing.
- If an offence of rape is committed, the first and most important thing to do is to report it to the police by filing a First Information Report (FIR)1. Otherwise, call 1091 (Women’s Helpline Number) and report the rape. Even if someone does not report the crime right away, this does not mean that the delayed FIR will harm the case. It may become more difficult for the police to carry out the investigation and gather evidence, but it is possible to file an FIR at a later date as well.
- To file an FIR, visit the nearest police station. The police station does not necessarily have to be in the area where the crime has been committed. To locate the police station, download the ‘Indian Police at your Call’ app and locate the nearest police station. Otherwise, call 100.
- Approaching the police immediately after being assaulted can be very daunting for the survivor. However, the survivor doesn’t have to do this alone. The woman can take the help of a friend or approach a lawyer to assist her in filing a complaint. In fact, another person can file the FIR for the woman if she doesn’t want to approach the police by herself2. If the survivor approaches the police with her complaint, the information is recorded only by a woman officer3.
- If the survivor is physically or mentally disabled, the police come and take her complaint from her residence or any other place where she feels comfortable4. The survivor’s statement is recorded at her residence or in any place of her choice. As far as possible, the statement is recorded by a woman police officer in the presence of the survivor’s parents/guardian/near relatives/ social worker of the locality5.
- It is perfectly alright if the survivor does not remember specific details of the assault or even the attacker. It is enough if she tells the police as many details as she remembers.
- Once the police have read out the complaint, if all the details are correct, the complainant signs the FIR6. Any police officer who refuses to file the FIR or fails to record information of the offence is punishable with imprisonment for six months to two years, along with a fine7.
- The complainant can get a copy of the FIR for free8. It is also possible to freely access the FIR online using the FIR number, date of FIR and the name of the police station.
- After the FIR has been registered, the contents of it cannot be changed. However, additional information can be given to the police later on at any point.
One Stop Centres
A survivor can also approach One Stop Centres, which provide an integrated range of services to women affected by violence. These services include medical aid, police assistance, legal aid/case management, psychosocial counselling and temporary support services.1
- Section 154, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
- Hallu and Others v State of Madhya Pradesh, 1974 AIR 1936.
- Proviso to Section 154, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
- Proviso (a), Section 154, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
- Proviso to Section 157(1), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
- Section 154(1), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
- Section 166A(c), Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- Section 154(2), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.