Police urged to standardize sex crime investigations to protect victims
Safrin La Batu
The Jakarta Post
Activists of women’s rights groups have called on National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian to issue a standard operating procedure (SOP) investigators can use as guidance in handling cases of rape and other sex crimes.
Such guidelines are deemed necessary to protect victims from being victimized again during the investigation.
The groups said it was possible that investigating officers would ask “wrong” questions in their efforts to find out whether a sexual act had occurred without consent, and this could lead to victims being revictimized.
The groups made the call in response to Tito’s statement in a recent interview with BBC Indonesia. He said it was sometimes inevitable for investigators to ask a victim whether she felt “comfortable” when the sex act occurred.
Tito said investigators needed to raise that question to prevent perpetrators from escaping justice by claiming the act had occurred with the woman’s consent.
Tito’s statement triggered controversy in the public.
“In fact, rape does not always involve violence. It can also happen because of an unbalanced power relationship between the perpetrator and the victim,” the group said on Thursday.
“Victims become vulnerable because of power abuse or through psychological pressure,” the activists argued.
The groups, which include women’s rights group LBH APIK, said Tito had promised its representatives during a meeting that he would issue a circular telling all police officers across Indonesia to be more attentive when handling sexual abuse reports. (ebf)
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