Turkey’s violence prevention system seems to be failing amid complex bureaucracy
Umut Erdem ANKARA
A much-hyped panic button system intended to protect women against violence has been a failure, the government acknowledged in October 2014. DHA PhotoTurkish public officials have engaged in a blame game over the state-run violence monitoring and prevention centers, revealing how a system created to prevent women from being victimized has been failing to do so.
The Family and Social Affairs Ministry ordered the establishment of Violence Monitoring and Prevention Centers (ŞÖNİM) across the country in 2012 to be able to take immediate action against domestic violence incidents.
However, statements heard by a parliamentary commission investigating violence against women laid bare the problems in the system, which is being implemented as a pilot project across 14 provinces.
Domestic Violence Department Prosecutor Özlem Şimşek pointed the finger at the Police Department, while security officials complained about not being able to reach ŞÖNİM boards to take action.
“Despite the fact we work swiftly, I know that all protection measures we issued via the Police Department were kept waiting at ŞÖMİN for months, because our addressees are not experts,” Şimşek told the parliamentary commission.
“If we want to solve this problem, we should task people who are aware of the severity of the problem,” she added.
However, Nuğman Demirdiş, the chief of police at the Cebeci station, says the law orders policemen to bring victims at high risk of violence to ŞÖNİMs, but he complained that they had difficulty reaching these centers as there are only 14 of them across the country.
“We cannot reach anybody after 5 p.m. in provinces that don’t have a ŞÖNİM. So security officers are forced to figure things out by themselves, and their efforts remain limited on some occasions,” Demirdiş stated.