An Anti-Rape Crises Cell (ARCC) is established at Pakistan Institute of medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad for survivors of sexual violence, a statement issued by the PIMS said on Monday.
The ARCC is established by the Ministry of Law and Justice and Ministry of Health with the support from the UK Government, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and Legal Aid Society.
The first anti-rape crisis cell in PIMS Islamabad means improved forensics and faster help for survivors of violence. Truly a step in the right direction for preventing gender-based violence! pic.twitter.com/VaqdqPpHj8
— Jane Marriott (@JaneMarriottUK) January 15, 2024
This step is part of the implementation of the Anti-Rape (Trial and Investigation) Act, 2021 which ensured justice for survivors of sexual offences and the provision of services and support they may need before, during and after a trial. The law necessitated the establishment of Anti-Rape Crises Cells (ARCCs) across districts to provide survivors with access to multiple services including FIR registration, collection of evidence and a medical examination within six hours.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Raja Naeem Akbar, Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice appreciated the support of all partners in establishing the ARCC. He said This ARCC will be helpful in addressing the critical issues of gender-based violence. We are working, through the Special Committee on Anti-Rape Law and National Commission on Rights of Child, with all provinces to ensure that similar Anti-Rape Crisis Cells are established and are fully functional across Pakistan to ensure timely and effective assistance to survivors of rape .
Mr. Iftikhar Ali Shallwani, Secretary MoNHSRC said We must also ensure the access of this crucial service to communities living in the outskirts of Islamabad. Due to stigma, many survivors hesitate to report or to walk to the ARCC. As s solution, we can take help from technology. There should be a round-the-clock helpline or an app that can help survivors access these services and dedicated Anti-Rape Crises Cells. He also emphasized on the need on the self-defense training for the girls in schools. During her remarks, Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chairperson for the Special Committee on Anti-Rape Law and National Commission on Rights of Child, said the anti-rape committee has framed comprehensive rules to usher in a new jurisprudence ready to combat sexual violence. The purpose of the Crisis cells is to provide timely response and expedite justice. It provides victim-centric support round the clock. Looking ahead, the goal is to allow every citizen, especially women to claim public spaces and travel on public routes without any fear of sexual violence.
Addressing the audience, Dr. Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA Representative said Rape is an ugly crime which causes lifelong pain and psychological trauma to those who face it. By all means, rape is a crisis which needs a collective response. We should start from prevention and awareness and also ensure a complete response system to help those in need. I believe that such initiatives of collected and coordinated response are absolutely necessary. I hope this Anti-Rape Crises Cell will be the first building brick based on Sexual Violence Response Framework and will be expanded throughout the country. UNFPA stands ready to support the government in making these interventions meaningful and helpful for women.
Addressing the audience, chief guest Ms. Jane Marriot, UK s High Commissioner, said “Antirape crisis cell in PIMS Islamabad is a significant milestone in addressing gender-based violence in Pakistan. This new antirape crisis facility will ensure that gender-based violence survivors are provided with quicker response services under one roof. The UK is proud to partner with Pakistan in advancing such important innovations for tackling violence.”
Prof. Dr. Rana Imran Sikandar, Executive Director, PIMS said that the hospital is committed to every support possible to the survivors of sexual violence and to reduce their trauma through psycho social support. He assured that the rape cases will be dealt through a holistic approach and with respect, care and confidentiality throughout the medical examination.