ISLAMABAD - The Sindh government has established the country’s first Anti-Rape Crisis Cell at a public hospital in Karachi to assist legal cases involving sexual and gender-based violence (GBV), Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab announced on Friday.
In December last year, the Sindh government approved the establishment of the Anti-Rape Crisis Cells (ARCC) under the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Act, 2021 to provide medico-legal certificates, psychological support, and legal services to survivors of sexual abuse.
“The [first] Anti-Rape Crisis Cell was inaugurated at MA Jinnah Road near Civil Hospital in Karachi,” Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab announced on the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“This is an important development to curb GBV crimes.”
The inauguration ceremony was attended by senior officials as well as representatives from the United Nations Women and the US Consulate.
In March this year, Dr. Summaiya Syed, a top police surgeon and a focal person on Sindh ARCCs, had told media that it was a “groundbreaking” initiative on part of the Sindh government as Karachi, a city of more than 15 million people, only had 29 medico-legal officers and of which, only seven were women.
“[This] figure is not at all compatible with the number of women victims of sexual assault,” she had said. Health facilities in Pakistan reported 626 cases of sexual assault on women and children in 2022. Among over 34,000 people who were brought to the police for examination in various cases, 5,325 were women.
The facility will also help and provide medico-legal support to males, females and transgender persons. The launch of the ARCC reflects a collective effort to address sexual violence and empower survivors to seek justice and healing. The establishment of this much-needed facility marks a crucial step forward in the pursuit of justice and support for survivors of sexual assault. The Sindh health department with the technical support of UN Women as part of the Tahaffuz project and funded by the US government’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement launched the first ARCC.