1. FILE/REPORT AN FIR
One must register a written complaint to her immediate cyber-cell in the city. In case of non-availability of cyber-cells in the city, one can file an F.I.R. in the local police station.
2. REPORT TO HIGH AUTHORITIES (IF NO/NON-SATISFACTORY ACTION IS TAKEN)
In case of non-acceptance of your complaint, one can always refer your complaint to the commissioner or judicial magistrate of the city.
3. ENTITLED TO LEGAL ASSISTANCE
If a woman approaches the police station with an allegation of cyber-stalking, she is entitled to legal counsel who can help her file a case.
4. PRIVACY WHILE REPORTING
The victim’s statement would be taken down in private. Often, the cyber police station has women police officers/constables who can help the complainant to file a complaint.
Iqra, a law student and an activist, shares her experience of being at the helm of such affairs.
“It really affects your mental peace and stability. It’s really hard and you can’t focus on things well. I used to get many messages and phone calls and they were very disturbing. So I called a friend of mine whose father was a policeman and I talked to him about everything. He told me to give him all the details like phone numbers and FB IDs of such people, then he solved the matter. It really gave me strength and after that, I used to handle it on my own. I remember saying to a guy who was harassing me that I’m going to file an FIR and I made him realise that it’s not a joke, it is really horrible to deal with. Then he stopped.”
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE REPORTING ONLINE ABUSE?
1. DON’T DELETE EVIDENCE
The first rule is to not delete. You need proof of the emails, photos, etc. This is important so as to enable investigators to track them down and collect evidence.
2. TAKE SCREENSHOTS FOR PROOF
You should take screenshots. You can do this using your phone as well.
3. REPORT IT INSTANTLY
Most platforms have a mechanism for reporting abuse. The social media websites are obliged under the IT (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011 to remove the offending content within 36 hours of receiving a complaint. In addition, under these rules, the websites also have to retain all information relating to such complaints for a period of 90 days. The information on the website will prove critical when an investigation is launched.
4. DON’T FORGET TO FILE AN FIR
Cyber crimes require specialised investigation and a First Information Report is the first step.