We can refer to the following bodies to receive help when tackling with violence – stopping, punishment of and fighting with violence. Those who witnessed the violence may also do the reporting on our behalf:
155 Police hotline
156 Gendarmerie hotline
Call 183 Social Support hotline
Public Prosecutor’s Office
Violence Prevention and Monitoring Centers (ŞÖNİM)
Provincial Directorates of Family, Labour and Social Services
Women Help Desks/Centers affiliated to the Municipality
Social Service Centers
When referring to the nearest police or gendarme station:
- We may make an official complaint when subjected to violence or the threat of violence. When we apply to the police/gendarmerie station, we should depict what happened in detail and ensure it is entirely reflected in the official report. If necessary, we may seek professional support from a solicitor and a specialist (psychologist, social worker, etc.).
- Never sign the report produced during our application to the police and/or gendarmerie station without reading. If/when our statement is recorded differently or incompletely, we must ask for a revision; it should first be corrected and signed accordingly. A copy of the report signed by the police/gendarme must be sought for personal records. If the police/gendarme is unwilling to produce an official report of the complaint, they must be reminded that the complaint should be recorded, or it would be their negligence of duty.
- When subjected to physical violence, the police/gendarme must immediately refer us to a hospital to receive a health report for the assault. If and when they fail to refer us to the hospital, we must insist on our referral to the hospital prior to issuing the official report.
- After providing our statement, we should request the Domestic Violence Incidents Registration Form and the Risk Assessment Form to be filled by the officers. After retrieving the result of the risk assessment, the most eligible preventive and protective measures within the scope of the Law No. 6284 on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Against Women must be identified to ensure our safety as well as that of our children/relatives, if any. In emergency situations, we should seek necessary preventive and protective measures to be taken by the police/gendarme immediately.
- Reconciliation with the perpetrator, or acting as a mediator does not fall in the duty or authority of the police/gendarme. Reconciliation and mediation cannot be recommended in crimes of violence against women.
When referring to the Public Prosecutor’s Office or the Family Court:
- We can apply directly to the Prosecutor’s Office in the Courthouses with a complaint petition. In our petition, location, time and full description of how the incident happened must be mentioned together with names and addresses of the witnesses, if any, as well as any evidence on the case.
- At least two issues of complaint petition must be prepared and signed; and one copy must be kept at all times. We should request the official stamp of the Public Prosecutor as well as the date, signature and inquiry number to put on out copy.
- The prosecutor will then take our statement, collect the evidence, listen to our witnesses, if any, and take the statement of the complainee. If the prosecutor decides to file a suit, he will refer the case to the Criminal Court. Then the court will send an official paper (notification) to us, stating the date and time of the hearing. If/when the notification is not received, we can apply to the investigation bureaus of the Prosecutor’s Office and get notified on the court and file numbers. We must go to the court personally and present our case. If we are unable to attend the hearing, we can write a plea petition to be submitted to the court.
- The Prosecutor may also deem to nonsuit. We will also be notified of this decision an official notification. As of being notified, we can appeal to a special (upper) court within the time specified in the verdict. Upon this objection, the competent Court would judge to acceptance of the case and further filing a petition, or dismissal of the case.
When referring to a Health Facility:
If we directly refer to an emergency department of any hospital, after examination a physician may issue a report of assault, and should we prefer, we can elevate our complaint to the hospital police. To prove the violence we have experienced, getting examined and a report accordingly is important before the marks of the assault disappear.
When referring to a Shelter:
- In the absence of having a safe place to stay due to violence, shelters are available by Law No. 6284 on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Against Women, to stay with our children, if any. Applications can be made to the Violence Prevention and Monitoring Center (ŞÖNİM), the nearest police station, the Provincial Directorate of Family, Labour and Social Services, women help desks/centers affiliated to the municipality, and woman organizations.
- ŞÖNİM, the District Governor’s Office and the police/gendarme on duty in emergencies are responsible for placement in shelters; without seeking Family Court’s verdict. An official complaint about the perpetrator is not necessary to settle in a shelter. Contact information (address and telephone) of the shelters are kept confidential; credentials of people staying in shelters are not shared with anyone. Upon request, we may stay in a shelter in another city than our place of residence.
When we want to remove the perpetrator from the house:
Those living in the same dwelling with the perpetrator can apply to the nearest police station, Violence Prevention and Monitoring Center (ŞÖNİM), Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and Family Courts to have this person removed from home. According to the Law No. 6284 on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Against Women, regardless of our marital status, the perpetrator can be removed from the co-resided house for a certain period of time; can be given a restraining order for us, our workplace, or our child’s school, if any. In emergency situations court order is not sought, and the police/gendarme may also take this measure.
When we seek temporary protection:
When we are worried to be harmed by the perpetrator we may request various protection measures within the scope of the Law No. 6284 on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Against Women. Such as, a police officer to accompany us whenever we go out. For that, we can apply to the nearest police station, Violence Prevention and Monitoring Center (ŞÖNİM), Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and Family Courts. In emergencies, the police/gendarme are also responsible for providing protection.
Temporary alimony and temporary financial aid
If the perpetrator is providing or contributing to the livelihood of the household and does not fulfil his economic responsibilities accordingly, we can request alimony within the scope of Law No. 6284. The removal of the perpetrator from the house with a precautionary decision does not allow them to cease to covering the rental, electricity, water, telephone, natural gas and similar expenses. With the breast of the court, the perpetrator would be obliged to fulfill his economic responsibilities regarding the house during the injunction, not to terminate the rental agreement of the family residence or not to request the removal of the allocation of public housing (lodging) and other measures that he deems appropriate. In addition, we can also request temporary financial aid within the scope of Law No. 6284.
We don’t necessarily be divorced to make an alimony claim. We can request alimony during or without filing a divorce case.
The Law No. 6284 on Protection of Family and Prevention of Violence Against Women?
- Law No. 6284 is a special law that provides taking urgent measures in protection of victims of violence and stopping perpetrators. All decisions made within the scope of this law are temporary and are called “injunction orders”. Applications made under this law does not require any fee as well as submitting any evidence, witness, document, doctor’s report, etc.
- Women and children subjected to physical, sexual, psychological, economic violence or are at risk of being subjected to violence may enjoy this law. We can benefit from this law if the any men we know such as our spouse with whom we have a civil or religious marriage, our divorced ex-spouse, our father, our brother, our uncle, our cousin, our fiancée, our son, our ex-lover, our lover, our father-in-law, our brother-in-law, or someone we do not know commits violence against us or threatens to use violence.
- The rights granted to us by Law No. 6284 are temporary. If we want to divorce the perpetrator or to be punished for the violent crime he has committed against us, we must file a divorce case or file a criminal complaint. The fact that we have filed a divorce or criminal case before does not prevent us from benefiting from this law. We can always apply for the implementation of the measures in this law.
Ruling and notifying the injunction order:
The injunction can be ruled for a maximum of 6 months. However, if violence or the threat of violence persists, the duration of these decisions can be extended with an application prior to the deadline. If the deadline has expired and violence or the threat of violence persist, we may make a new application to request a new injunction.
It usually takes a few days for an injunction decision to be made. The decision is referred to the police/gendarme for enforcement, and immediate action will be taken to notify both the perpetrator and us. If/when not notified, we can go to the place of application to seek the verdict and obtain a copy of the decision in hard copy. We can keep a copy of the verdict with us and show it to the officials when necessary.
If/when the perpetrator does not comply with the injunction?
The Family Court may order forced imprisonment of the perpetrator. For this to happen, the police/gendarme must be informed of the time and description of the violation, or apply to the Prosecutor’s Office or the Court with a petition. The judge may rule to forced imprisonment from 3 days to 10 days; and from 15 days to 30 days in case of repeated violation.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN TAKING LEGAL ACTIONS:
Sometimes, police, prosecutor’s office or court officials may assert being not authorized to receive our application or they may not want to take action. In such cases, it may be functional to remind them of our rights in a decisive and persistent manner.
When we make an application, it must be documented. Verbal responses cannot be kept or used. We must take and keep a copy of every document with our signature on.
Things to consider in complaints and applications after being exposed to sexual violence:
- Since sexual violence is often experienced in an environment where we are alone with the perpetrator, without any witnesses and documentation, it is difficult for women to prove the crime. Therefore, when we are exposed to sexual violence, especially rape, it is important to remember the following information to efficiently collect post-incident evidence before it disappears:
- When raped, it is very important to make an official application to the Prosecutor’s Office and a hospital, to obtain a health report within the first 48 hours, certainly without washing. We can ask the Prosecutor’s Office to refer us to the Forensic Physician to obtain a doctor’s report documenting the assault.
- We may possess remainders of the violator’s body hair, hair, bodily fluids. In case of a struggle, the attacker’s skin may get stuck under the nails. All these are significant evidence and can be very effective in getting the violator caught and sentenced. After sexual assault, most women tend to wash and clean right away to forget the incident and leave it behind. However, although it is not easy, it is recommended not to wash hands/faces, rinse the mouth, and change clothes, which will prevent the evidence getting lost. The clothes and underwear we were wearing at the time of the incident must never be washed. If we are not ready to complain yet, we can store these clothes in a clean bag with as little touching as possible.
- During the doctor’s examination, it is very important to ensure every trace and wound on the body are recorded; and the police/gendarmerie/prosecutor’s office collected all evidence (of sperm, nail piece, hair, blood sample, etc.) from the genital organs (reproductive organs and their places), mouth or any part of the body without destroying any trace of the violator. If the doctor is not careful enough, we can draw attention to the issues that we think may stand as evidence and have them reflected in the report.
- If we were not able to go to the doctor, it may be useful to share the situation with a friend and/or an acquaintance, and to take pictures with a phone or camera to Show the scars on our body and our face, with the date display feature on.
- In the presence of a witness to the violation, she/he can be taken to the police station, as well. If we saw the perpetrator, all the details about the violator’s look must be described as well as any details we know and/or can remember at the police/gendarme station. We should request other witnesses to be heard, if any; and that the necessary evidence be collected. In the absence of physical traces of rape, or when the physical traces disappear, we can apply to Forensic Medicine, university hospitals or the psychiatry service of any hospital to identify the psychological findings of the rape and obtain a psychological status report.
If we need a lawyer:
In the absence of necessary financial conditions, we can make an application to the legal assistance office of the Bar Association in our city of residence to request an independent lawyer to be appointed, free of charge. When making an application to the legal assistance Office, we must have in our possession a certificate of residence; a document from the land registry department proving we have no immovable property such as a house, or a land; a document from SGK proving we are unemployed, or in cases where we’re employed; work papers to prove we receive a minimum wage; a certificate of poverty; and a photocopy of ID. If our request is accepted, we merely cover the attorney’s power of attorney and litigation costs. If we are not able to cover the litigation costs, we can also apply to the court in question to receive legal aids, and for the state to cover the costs. In cases where we made a prior application to the police/gendarmerie or the prosecutor’s office for a violent crime we have been victim of, and should we have no lawyer, we may request the Bar Association to appoint a lawyer free of charge before giving our statement under the Criminal Procedures Law (CMK). When exposed to crimes that require 5 years sentence or more, such as attempted murder together with sexual assault, free legal assistance can be received in the scope of the CMK.
To learn more about legal aids and how to benefit from CMK services, detailed information can be retrieved from the Bar Association in our city of residence. Filing a lawsuit with petitions written by people who do not have legal knowledge may lead to loss of rights.
When we are exposed to violence, it is important to get help from women’s organizations working in the field of fighting with violence, such as the Foundation for Women’s Solidarity. You may find a list of these organizations on our website. First and foremost, we are strengthened with this support. Thus, having such organizations’ support may assist us in the judicial processes. Even if we are hesitant about making a complaint or filing a lawsuit, it would be in our best interest to visit a women’s organization in person, or contact via phone immediately after the incident