Engaging with the Criminal Justice System: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Violence


The Guide for Survivors is publication which contains frequently asked questions for a survivor; for example, what information should she provide in the FIR, what are her options if the police fail to record an FIR, what should she do if she cannot approach the police and what will happen during the course of the trial.

The Guide, aside from explaining basic points such as the difference between bailable, non bailable, cognizable and non cognizable – also provides options to the survivor in the various stages of her legal battle.  For example, in case the police fail to record an FIR the survivor is informed that she can approach a superior police officer, or she can approach a Magistrate, or she can even approach the High Court for directions for investigation by the CBI in special cases.

This document has been written in an easy to understand language but attempts to cover as many scenarios as possible that a survivor may encounter in the criminal justice system.  For example, she may not be able to report to the police but still wishes to file a case, or the police may have not recorded the FIR properly and she wishes to rectify this.  The survivor is advised on how to file a private complaint if the police route is not workable, or even if she decides to supplement police investigation with a private enquiry.

The Guide cautions the survivor on tactics usually used by defence lawyers.  The document advises her to be as consistent as possible in the statement made to the police and to the Magistrate.  At the same time, she is advised not to exaggerate her case or make false statements.