The Family and Social Policies Ministry announced plans to set up a hotline for victims of domestic violence abroad. The ministry aims to help Turks, especially in Europe, in the cases of domestic violence that scourge women in Turkey.
Minister Ayşenur İslam told reporters on Thursday that a version of the 183 hotline, currently operational in Turkey, will be in service for the Turkish community abroad in collaboration with the Foreign Ministry. The hotline will be based in Turkey and provide assistance such as legal aid to victims of domestic violence.
İslam said Düsseldorf, Germany, which hosts a sizeable Turkish population, will be the first area where the hotline will be available. "The hotline will be staffed with people knowledgeable about the social services of the country where our citizens live. Our ministry will also establish offices abroad and the applicants will be able to receive assistance in domestic violence cases from these offices," she said. Like the hotline, the first office will be opened in Düsseldorf and Family and Social Policies Ministry offices will be established in 22 locations by the end of 2015.
The hotline received more than 100,000 calls in Turkey last year, and it is available in Kurdish and Arabic as well.
Violence against women perpetrated by their spouses or would-be rapists is a cause of concern, as public outcry on "femicide" continues to escalate. The government has launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the issue, alongside an action plan to tackle the violence. Amid new measures, which will soon be implemented nationwide, is a tracking system for domestic violence perpetrators and tougher sentences without the likelihood of reduction of sentences in cases involving violence targeting women.
A government-sponsored survey released earlier this month showed women often avoid seeking legal or any other aid for domestic violence, either viewing it as "not a serious problem" out of shame, or believing that their spouse may change. Only one in every 10 women asks for help against violence, and more than half of them only do so when the violence reaches unbearable levels, according to the survey. The majority of women downplay the severity of violence by saying it is not a serious problem, while others believe their spouses may change their behavior in time.
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