Women’s shelters to be set in 250 municipalities

Women’s shelters to be set in 250 municipalities

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Women’s shelters to be set in 250 municipalities

Ukranian activist group FEMEN recently protested violence against women in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district. The group members were then detained by the police. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The Family and Social Policies Ministry has begun preparing a legal framework to establish shelters for women in all 250 Turkish municipalities with a population of 50,000 or more.

According to the planned amendment to the legal policy, municipalities will be obligated to provide shelters for women subjected to abuse. 

The current Municipality Law states that women’s refuges “can be” established in every municipality with a population of 50,000, but Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin said jurisdictions’ lack of initiative in constructing such shelters necessitated a change in the article so that establishing the facilities would become mandatory.

Municipalities that fail to comply will be penalized, the minister said in a warning to mayors who fail to comply with the new regulations.

Şahin said 20 shelters had been opened in the last year and that the ministry planned to ensure that no province remained without such a facility by the end of 2012. 

“We will provide legal, psychological and financial support to women,” said Şahin, adding that the shelters would be renewed and restructured to accommodate women’s needs. 

Zelal Ayman from Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR) said this new regulation could play a key role in strengthening women’s status in Turkey and decreasing violence against women only if it is implemented professionally. Ayman also said Turkey was in need of more advanced shelters for its protection mechanism. “The whole world knows one truth in Turkey, every day around three women are killed by their husbands or family members.” Three months is the limit for women to stay in shelters, she added and said counselors should work in shelters for women to rebuild their lives financially.

411 women apply for 41 spaces

A women’s shelter founded by the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality in the southeast has received 411 applications in 16 months.

According to a written statement made by the municipality, 411 women applied to the women’s shelter, which has a total capacity of 41 people – 20 women and 20 children with 1 handicapped room. The project has been initiated and run by the Regional Administration Department of the Interior Ministry.

The director of the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Health Department, Muhtar Akyol, said that after all the applications made to the women’s counseling center and violence against women hotline were evaluated, 72 women were provided accommodations at the women’s shelter.

domestic violence, women's rights,