July 12, 2023

By Ahmed Saeed


The Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell (AGHS), with the support of the German Embassy in Pakistan, held a two-day capacity-building workshop on anti-rape laws for police officials on July 11 and 12, 2023.

The workshop, which is part of a series that provides training to relevant stakeholders including law enforcement personnel, prosecutors and judges, was attended by over 50 police officials including gender-based violence (GBV) investigating officers (IOs) and front desk officers (FDOs).

FDOs are the initial point of contact in a police station, who receive and forward applications to concerned police officials who then convert the application into a first information report (FIR).

The workshops are focused on educating police officials about the intricacies of the new anti-rape laws, and to raise awareness about the importance of consent and protecting the identity of rape survivors under the aforementioned law. Criminal lawyers briefed participants about the new law in an interactive session, allowing for a better understanding of its provisions.

AGHS has also conducted training sessions for independent support advisors on awareness of their responsibilities and powers given in the act.

“Since January 2022, AGHS has conducted over 20 training sessions with members of district judiciary, police and public prosecutors throughout the country. In these training sessions, over 350 officials were trained and made aware of the intricacies of the new law,”

said Tamara Saleem, in-charge of the training program.

She also mentioned that the core purpose of the training module is to impart gender sensitivity to the officials.

The new anti-rape laws were introduced in Pakistan in response to the growing number of rape cases in the country. Provisions under this law now use gender-neutral definitions, while the offence of rape is now non-bailable with a minimum punishment of 25 years. Additionally, the law requires that the identity of rape survivors be kept confidential, and the survivor’s consent is now a crucial element in determining whether a sexual act was consensual or non-consensual.

“It was quite an informative session as we learned new things about registration of the FIR and how to question rape survivors,”

Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Yousaf said.

During the workshop, police officials were encouraged to ask questions and share their experiences related to investigating rape cases. Lawyers also apprised the police officers about the importance of consent under the new law.

Asma, an FDO, appreciated the content of the training and said the workshop was focused on the issues which are being faced by the police officials on a daily basis.

“We have been told about the importance of protecting the identity of rape survivors and we were briefed in detail on how the law empowers police officers to protect the survivor’s identity. This is really important as rape survivors always demand us to hide or protect their identity,” she told Voicepk.net.


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