A parliamentary committee on domestic violence set out a list of recommendations to tackle the phenomenon, ranging from more effective legal measures against offenders to raising the legal marriage age from 17 to 18.
Looking into ways to tackle the domestic violence that has been plaguing the country in recent years, Parliament has been mulling on more effective measures to curb the disturbing phenomenon.
Recommendations by the parliamentary committee, composed of lawmakers from the ruling party and opposition parties, may be implemented as law or regulations by the government. The committee has heard opposition politicians, representatives of nongovernmental organizations and experts on the issue for months.
Releasing parts of the draft report, Turkish media reported that education of the public on domestic violence was one of the key recommendations. Apart from educating couples before they officiate their marriage, the committee called for the education of children on gender equality and domestic violence. Elected neighborhood and village leaders known as muhtars and religious clerics should be taught about how to spread the message against domestic violence, the committee's report says. The committee recommends a widespread campaign for raising awareness through public service announcements and employment of the private sector, especially brands popular among the youth, for awareness campaigns.
The language the media used in reporting the acts of violence toward women was criticized by the committee that urged a more cautious use of "honor" as in so-called honor killings.
The committee said that providing temporary police protection for victims of domestic violence may prove futile at times as was the case in the murder of a woman in 2014 at an Istanbul courthouse. The woman and her bodyguard assigned by police were killed by the woman's son as she arrived in the courthouse to report death threats by her husband.
It calls on a more effective tracking of domestic violence offenders, particularly through electronic bracelets for repeat offenders.
A contentious point in domestic violence cases is having offenders benefiting from legal loopholes and gaining reductions in their sentences even in the case of brutal murders. Lower courts and the Supreme Court of Appeals, which has the final say in lawsuits, quite often rule in favor of defendants in spousal killings under "unjust provocation" if the victim cheated on her husband. The parliamentary committee called for the removal of the "unjust provocation" clause from the Turkish Penal Code.
Although its effect in curbing domestic violence may be disputed, the committee also called for raising the legal marriage age from 17-18.
Turkey has tight measures in place for gun control but the committee urged the confiscation of licensed guns if its owner is involved in domestic violence cases.
Conjugal visits, whose security was debated after a convict stabbed his wife to death during one such visit, should not be provided to domestic violence offenders, the committee recommends.
Other legal recommendations include fines or imprisonment for eyewitnesses of domestic violence who do not report the violence to security forces.
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