Bill to bring tougher steps to protect women

Bill to bring tougher steps to protect women

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The government has drawn up a draft bill that would introduce significant changes in existing regulations in a bid to tighten measures to protect women who face domestic violence and sexual abuse or are under the threat of such abuse or honor killings.

The bill, approved by the Cabinet and expected to reach Parliament soon, was drawn up amid an alarming increase in the number of murdered women and domestic violence.

The text stipulates protection to women as long as the threat of violence exists in contrast to
existing arrangements that provide for six-month protection. In the most serious cases, women who are under the threat of falling victim to an honor killing would be able to receive protection
under “witness protection” procedures that enable beneficiaries to change their official identities and relocate.

In a radical move, the bill extends the scope of protection to women who are subject to violence outside of civil marriages, thus covering Islamic imam marriages and abuse from fiances and boyfriends
All types of physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence will be punishable by law if the draft is passed. Men who sexually abuse women will be banned from their houses, while the threat of incest, also defined as “domestic violence,” will result in incarceration. Custody of a child could be taken
away from men who commit incest through physical violence, with the child holding the right to refuse using the father’s surname.

Under the bill, Violence Monitoring Centers would be established in 14 cities, employing nearly 6,000 workers specializing in assisting abused women.

Once an incident of abuse is reported, women would be given a “panic button necklace” to alert police when they are in danger. The victim’s phone could also be put under surveillance upon a court ruling. Judges would be able to file urgent injunctions without documentation. In emergency situations, governors, district governors and police chiefs would have the authority to take protective measures.

The cost of services for women without social security would be collected from the man inflicting the violence and abuse.

The bill also explicitly says the protection of women against violence would be in line with international agreements on the issue.