SUSPECTED RAPE VICTIM HANDLING PROCEDURES NEED TO BE IMPROVED - NANCY
KUCHING, July 16 (Bernama) -- Procedures related to hospital examination for suspected rape victims need to be improved, said Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
She said taking into account the traumatic situation faced by rape victims, she hoped that the Ministry of Health (MOH) would consider granting permission for the victim to undergo an examination at the hospital without lodging a police report first.
“Our recommendation is, since the report and rape kit must be made within 72 hours, can the victim do a medical examination first and then we will leave it to the victim whether the victim wants to make a police report or not. We will leave it to the MOH to decide (on this suggestion),” she said in a press conference in conjunction with the ‘Sepeda Amal Borneo 2023’, a charity programme here, today.
She said that the procedures for handling cases of suspected rape victims currently state that a police report must be made first before the victim is allowed to undergo further examination.
“When the victim goes to the counter (at the hospital) they will be referred to the police first, then the police give permission to conduct the medical examination because they (police) require the evidence for the case,” she said.
She was commenting on a media report on July 8 about an individual who was allegedly dissatisfied with the services of the One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) in Sarawak in handling the case of a woman suspected of being raped recently.
Following that, Sarawak health director Dr Ooi Choo Huck, in his statement, said that the woman refused to lodge a police report and did not give permission for further evaluation to be carried out despite being advised by the medical officer on duty.
Dr Ooi, said, however, after a discussion with an emergency physician on duty, the woman was sent to the OSCC, where the medical officer conducted a comprehensive examination, including examining her vital signs.
Nancy said the matter was a miscommunication between the victim and the hospital and it has been resolved, besides hoping that such an incident will not recur.
Meanwhile, on the ‘Sepeda Amal Borneo 2023’, the minister said a total of 20 participants took part in the charity event which involved cycling for 700 kilometres across Sarawak in six days.
The programme is being held to raise funds for the ROSE Foundation to eradicate cervical cancer which is the third most common cancer among Malaysian women.
Also, in conjunction with the event, the ROSE Foundation offers free cervical screening to all women in more than 10 locations throughout Sarawak, from yesterday until July 23.