(164 A CrPC)
In most cases of sexual offences against children, the child is expected to undergo a thorough medical examination so medical evidence can be gathered.
Time Taken for the Procedure: Anywhere between 2 hours & an entire day. This is mostly determined by the nature of injuries sustained by the child, availability of medical professionals and other factors.
At What Stage Does Medical Examination of the Child Victim Take Place:
The Medical Examination takes place as soon as the case is reported. The police will inform you of the date and the hospital where the examination is scheduled to take place. They may personally escort the child and you on the day of the appointment to the hospital. In some cases the police might ask you to do the medical examination before the complaint is registered to ensure that the evidence is not lost.
Is it Mandatory?
It is considered good practice to get a thorough medical examination conducted.
In case the child is under 12 years of age, consent for examination needs to be taken from the parent or guardian. Children above the age of 12 can give consent to the medical examination by themselves.
Most of the doctors will talk to the children and take a detailed history of the incidence. You may be asked to leave the room when the doctor is talking to the child. The decision should be made on the basis of the comfort of the child.
Accompanying The Child:
Parents or a trusted adult should be allowed to accompany the child during the examination. But this depends on the comfort of the child and the circumstances at the hospital. You can request for a lady doctor if the child is not comfortable being examined by a male doctor.
If the child is admitted in the hospital, a lady constable must accompany the child
If the child is specially-abled ensure that the child is issued a certificate denoting the same as a part of the medical examination
Things to Carry with You When You Go for the Medical Examination
Carry food & water for the child.
Carrying coloring books, children’s books, some toys, video games helps in case the child is made to wait & grows restless.
If you are a parent, carry a valid identification proof.
If you are a support person, carry the CWC order appointing you as support person along with valid identification proof.
How to Speak to The Child About Medical Examination
Tell the child that they will be taken to hospital for a medical check up.
Tell them that they may be shifted from one department to the other during the entire process.
Tell them that the doctors will ask them to give the complete statement of the incident.
After the statement, the doctor will ask the child for consent. Talk to the child about consent. The child should be told that the doctor will examine them for evidence.
Tell them that they may experience some level of discomfort. Tell them that the samples of blood, urine, clothes etc. will be collected from them and that this evidence will be used to prosecute the accused.
If the child is not ready to get the examination done they can refuse to give consent.
They can ask the doctor to stop the examination if they feel uncomfortable.
After The Medical Examination
Ensure that you receive a copy of the medical examination report.
Ensure that the child is taken to the park or somewhere where they can unwind, relax and take their mind away from the case.
Talk to the child and allow the child to ventilate. Listen actively and respond gently and appropriately.