Revision of Police Form 3 (PF3)
In the course of reporting a crime involving sexual violence as provided for under the Penal Code Act of Uganda Cap 120 Laws of Uganda, survivors must obtain a medical examination form from the police, also known as a Police Form 3 (PF3) in order to be examined by a Health Practioner. The PF3, used to document physical or other injury, is divided into two sections to be completed by a police officer and a Health Practioner. While under Ugandan law, proof of any crime does not exclusively rely on medical evidence, the PF3 is often critical to the successful prosecution of cases involving sexual violence. Indeed, police usually do not pursue further investigation of cases without the PF3 form.
The Police Form 3 is a document that is given to a victim or survivor of a crime after an assessment by the police officer that there is reasonable basis to believe that an offence has been committed against the victim or survivor. It is made under the Police Act of 2006 as amended.
Rationale for amendment of the Police forms
The original Police Form 3 and its appendix were found to be lacking in facilitating a comprehensive examination of victims of crimes. The forms were ambiguous especially for medical personnel who were tasked with completing them. This ambiguity affected prosecutions in court due to the numerous interpretations the form elicited thus creating reasonable doubt in the mind of the judicial officer. In addition, the Form had become obsolete following the amendment of the defilement law under section 129 of the Penal Code Act in 2007 in which the term sexual activity was legally re-defined and the concept of aggravated defilement was introduced.
There was a need to widen the parameters for medical examination across the board to enrich the contents and findings therein. The previous forms had created disharmony between court evidentiary requirements and the services actually rendered and available to survivors. Every victim of a sexual crime/assault was previously required to undergo medical examination by a medical officer who in most cases is a police surgeon. There are very few police surgeons on the ground and mainly based in urban areas. Accessing justice then became difficult for those in rural areas or those who had difficulty accessing a medical officer, for financial and other reasons.
With the aforementioned reasons in mind and the concerns about the inadequacy of the original PF3, UNFPA through the UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality supported the Sector through the Criminal Justice Working Group meetings to revise the PF 3 form.
Police Forms 3, 3A and 24A which are used to assist the prosecution of crimes involving sexual violence under the Penal Code Act have been amended with several significant changes. The main change is the provision that registered Midwives and Clinical Officers are now authorized to examine a survivor, document evidence and testify in court. Previously, only medical officers could perform these tasks. The revisions to the Forms were approved and signed off by the Director of Public Prosecutions and Inspector General of Police on 13 September 2011.
The Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) is a sector wide approach (SWAP) that brings together 17 institutions with closely linked mandates for administering justice maintaining law and order and promoting the observance of human rights, to developing a common vision, policy framework, unified objectives and plan over the medium term. It focuses on a holistic approach to improving access to and administration of justice through the Sector Wide Approach to planning, budgeting, programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
The Uganda Police Force, the Judiciary, Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development are all part of the institutions that constitute JLOS. As such JLOS in close consultation with the Ministry of Health is ideally placed to coordinate training of stakeholders on the amended police forms.
JLOS will coordinate trainings on the revised forms in 9 regions of the country. The trainings will target a number of stakeholders including members of the medical profession (medical officers, midwives and clinical officers), judicial officers; State Attorneys and Prosecutors and Police officers.
The trainings will provide an opportunity for the following:
- Explain changes to the forms. This will include raising awareness of the revisions and the fact that midwives and clinical officers now have the ability to complete the forms.
- Increase capacity of stakeholders on how to use and complete the revised forms.
- Discuss challenges to administration of police forms in the past including reports that survivors have been forced to pay for the forms and suggest solutions to the challenges.
- Raise awareness among stakeholders on strategies to prevent and respond to gender based violence more generally.
The key areas to be covered in will be;
- Laws on sexual offences and Court procedure
- The Evidence Act, expert witnesses, expectations of the DPP, techniques of evidence giving
- Psychiatric effects of SGBV and the assessment and management thereof.
- Intimate partner violence
- Drugs and sexual violence
- Basic principles of counseling and psycho-social support
- The anatomy of the male and female genitalia
- Rape in the absence of trauma
- SGBV medical management protocols
- The police forms and Guidelines for the filling of the forms
- Medical ethics in SGBV and examination of suspects
- Child sexual abuse
- Forensic injury interpretation
- Forensic specimen management
The trainings will achieve the following results:
- Increase awareness on changes to the forms.
- Build capacity of stakeholders on how to use and complete the revised forms.
- Provide a forum for stakeholders to discuss challenges and solutions for implementation.
- Demystify the court procedures and process for expert witnesses
- Ensure collaboration and synergy between different stakeholders along the referral pathways for use and dissemination of the new forms and implementation.
- Increase awareness of gender based violence and strategies for prevention and response.
- Improve on the knowledge, skills and attitudes of stakeholders in the forensic and medical management and cases of sexual violence.
- Equip the health workers with basic knowledge of the legal system in Uganda and the laws related to sexual offences in order to enable them testify in courts of law.
- Enhance the psychiatric and counselling skills of the health workers to enable them offer psycho-social support to the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence
- Introduce the health workers to the police Form 3, 3A and 24A for the documentation of forensic evidence in cases of sexual assault.
The trainings will be conducted by a team of specially trained persons who comprised the following categories; pathologist, lawyers, obstetricians/gynaecologists and other medical specialists.
The UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality will be providing financial support for the trainings. The United Nations Joint Programme on Gender Equality in Uganda (UNJPGE) is a five ‐ year programme (2010 ‐ 2014) coordinated by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women), involving ten UN Agencies, six Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and two national CSO networks advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
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