Stepping in to stop circulation of photographs, purportedly of the December 16, 2012, gang rape victim, on social networking sites (one before the sexual assault and another on the hospital bed), the National Commission for Women (NCW) on Wednesday asked the general public to “show some restraint and respect the privacy of the family.”

Chairperson Mamta Sharma said: “We have got reports about the victim’s alleged picture being put up and circulated on Facebook and other networking sites, we are looking into the matter. While the law prohibits the victim’s name and identity from being revealed, in this case, it is the right of the parents to decide whether they want their daughter’s photo to be circulated among the public.”

Stating that the family has been through a very traumatic incident, she added: “While the nation sees the girl as a hero, we have to allow the family time to take in the impact of what has happened. They are still under a lot of mental and emotional stress and we [the public] have to refrain from circulating pictures of this brave girl without giving the family the time to decide in a calm state of mind about going public with their child’s identity.”

The commission has also demanded that the family be offered long-term counselling. “There is an urgent need to ensure that mental and emotional rehabilitation is offered to the family members who have suffered and seen their child/sister suffer. While the parents need to be helped with the brutal death of their young child, the brothers have to be reassured and helped to get on with their lives,” noted the chairperson.

The NCW has also written to the government demanding fast-track courts which will work in a time-bound manner to provide justice for victims of sexual assault and in camera hearings in all sexual assault cases (to improve protection for the victims) besides providing aggressive and sustained counselling for the victim and family members to cope with the trauma and rebuild a normal life after the assault.