Violence against women and domestic violence in relation to the Istanbul Convention

AuthorKadriye Bakirci
10 Violence against women and domestic violence in relation to the Ist anbul
10.1 General (legal) context
10.1.1 Surveys and reports on issues of violence against women and d omestic violence
On 25 November 2014, the Parliament decided to establish a parliamentary commission
for an enquiry into the problem of violence against women.264 Th e Commission prepared
a 700-pag e comprehensive report on the issue, published on 8 May 2015.265 The most
problematic area is the degree of vi olence seen in practice embedded by social norms,
culture and understanding. According to the report, different perceptions of violence by
men and women, a lack of awareness of types of viol ence other than physical violence,
societal acceptance of domestic violence, patriarchal and stereotypical views of a woman’s
traditional role, economic dependence on the perpetrator, and a lack of understandin g on
the part of women of their rights are among the factors hindering the fight against
violence. Therefore, awareness raising is of the utmost importance. Figures outlined in the
report show that, in 2014, 119 018 incidents of domestic violence were reported to the
police (51 739 in 2010, 62 682 in 2011, 90 177 in 2012, and 89 565 in 2013). Of the
163 564 victims, 118 014 were women, 29 410 were men and 16 140 were children. Of
the 234 people killed in domestic violence in 2014, 133 were women (113 women we re
killed in 2013, 98 in 2012, 91 in 2011 and 94 in 2010), 76 were men and 25 were children.
Provisional protection measures were applied to 87 081 people in 2014, of whom 77 288
were women and 9 793 were men.
10.1.2 Overview of national acts on violence against women, domestic violence and issues
related to the Istanbul Convention
One of the significant steps taken by Turkey relating to the seventh CEDAW period is that
in April 2011, it hosted in Istanbul the Convention for Eliminating Violence against Women
and Prevention of Domestic Violence adopted by the European Council (the Istanbul
Convention). Turkey became the first country to sign (on 11 May 2011) and ratify (on 14
March 2012). The Istanbul Convention has called attention to different dimensions of
violence against women and proposed important prevention measures and sanctions.
The Act on Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Against Women, which
makes special reference to and draws on the Istanbul Convention (Article 1/2a), was
accepted unanimously in Parliament on 8 March 2012. This act abrogated the previous
Protection of the Family Act266 because the scope of the previous act was limited to the
family and therefore was not in compliance with the obligations under the Convention.
However the title of the current act is also open to criticism in that it locates women in the
family as their primary sphere of existence by using the words protection of the family
instead of protection of the individual family members.
264 Decision No. 1077, 25.11.2014, Official Journal 3.12.2014, No. 29194; Act on the Committee on Equality of
Opportunity for Women and Men (Kadın Erkek Fırsat Eşitliği Kanunu (No. 5840) Official Journal 24.3.2009,
No. 2717.
265 Report of the Grand National Asembly of Turkey Research Committee Established to Determine the
Measures to be Taken by Investigating the Reasons of Violence Against Women (Kadina Yönelik Şiddetin
Sebeplerinin Araştirilarak Alinmasi Gereken Önlemlerin Belirlenmesi Amaciyla Kurulan Meclis Araştirmasi
Komisyonu Raporu) 8.5.2015, For Part I of the report:; and for Part II:
266 TurkProtection of the Family Act (Ailenin Korunmasına Dair Kanun), No. 4320, Official Journal 17.1.1998,
No. 23233; See Bakirci, K. (2007), ‘Domestic Violence in International, European and Turkish Law’ (Aile İçi
Şiddetle İlgili Ulusal Mevzuatın Uluslararası Belgeler ve Avrupa Belgeleri Karşısındaki Durumu), Guncel
Hukuk Dergisi, Eylul. Bakirci, K. /Uygur G./ Yalcin Sancar T. (2007), The International, European and
Turkish Legislation on Violence Against Women in the Domestic Sphere (Aile İçi Şiddete ve Yetkili Kurum ve
Kuruluşlara İlişkin Mevzuat ve Değerlendirme Raporu (Uluslararası, Avrupa ve Türk Hukuk Mevzuatı)),
Research Project for the Turkish Prime Ministry, Department of Women’s Status.

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