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New Delhi : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India, in order to ensure effective prosecution leading to conviction in cases of sexual assault on women, has prepared a ‘Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on Collection & Processing of scientific/forensic evidences.’

The SOP, prepared in consultation with medical experts, has been sent to the States/UTs for issuing instructions to all the officers concerned for implementation, according to an NHRC release.

The SOP has been divided into seven sections of key operating procedures.  These are: victim care, promptness and examination, collection of samples, collection of blood and urine samples, genital and anal evidence, handing over samples to FSL and general.  It can be accessed through the link: https://nhrc.nic.in/acts-and-rules/standard-operating-procedure-sop-collection-processing-scientificforensic-evidences

 The Commission has come out with this SOP after it observed that in many cases of alleged rape and sexual assault, there is substantial delay in medical examination, collection & processing of scientific/forensic evidences of the victim of sexual assault.  The exhibits are forwarded to the Forensic Science Laboratory, FSL after much delay and by that time, the samples deteriorate/autolyse and become unsuitable for examination. This delay adversely affects the investigation for effective prosecution leading to conviction.

 The NHRC has expressed the hope that this Standard Operating Procedure, if implemented in letter & spirit by the authorities concerned, will definitely help improve the system of medico-legal investigation in cases of sexual assault on women in the country.