Draft law aims to improve Turkey’s women shelters

Draft law aims to improve Turkey’s women shelters

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Draft law aims to improve Turkey’s women shelters

This file photo shows a recent protest against domestic violence realized by a group of women staying at a shelter in the central anatolian province of Konya. DHA photo

The Family and Social Policies Ministry has completed a draft law on regulations governing women’s shelters with special provisions to combat violence toward women.

The draft will oblige all municipalities in settlements with a population of over 50,000 residents to open a women’s shelter home.

Another section in the proposed law stipulates that no written communication between the victims and Violence Prevention and Monitoring Centers will include the names of children or employees.

Such communication will also be encoded if necessary, according to the reports.

All measures will reportedly be taken to protect women involved in life-threatening situations, as well as any dependents who may accompany them.

Officials will also prepare a “protection plan” to shield the potential victims from violence.

Authorities are to assign law enforcement officials to stand guard at certain intervals in front of the victims’ residences, according to reports.

Educational expenses

The educational expenses of school-age children will also be met by the authorities, who will provide the children with a monthly allowance as well.

The draft law defines “violence” as an act that may result in physical, sexual, economic or psychological damage to the victim; any act that produces the experience of pain; attitudes and behavior in public or private spaces that result in the restriction of the victim’s freedom, as well as any threats and pressure to this effect.

One out of three women in Turkey has been physically or sexually abused, but 92 percent have not reported this to authorities, according to a recent report revealed by the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK).

The report said even effective laws protecting women’s rights have failed to fully stamp out abuse pointing to the United States and European countries, and emphasized the importance of education.
While women with all levels of education are subject to domestic abuse in Turkey, statistics reveal that cases of abuse decrease as the male’s education level increases, it added.

The risk of domestic abuse, however, doubles in households where women earn more than men, with two out of three women in this category admitting to being abused.

Women who are separated or divorced from their husbands are at a higher risk, with seven out of 10 revealing they had been abused.

Official statistics indicate 92 percent of women have not reported cases of abuse, with barely half admitting it to family and friends. Only 4 percent have filed complaints with authorities.

Murders of women in Turkey have increased 1,400 percent, from 66 in 2002 to almost 1,000 in 2011, the report said.

Turkey is the only country in the world where nearly five women die every day over their rights to live, work, marry and divorce, read a letter to Parliament by the End Violence Platform, representing 237 women’s organizations.