Turkey, national assembly, parliament

Turkey passes law to prevent violence against women and health workers

With the new law, assaults and harassment against women and health workers are no more considered as offense but crime, with more serious penalties

The Turkish parliament approved a new law late yesterday to prevent violence against women and against health workers, which classifies attacks against these groups as a “crime“, thus introducing stronger penalties and preventive detention measures.

According to the new law, the perpetrators of these attacks will no longer be able to enjoy reductions in sentence for good behaviour during the judicial process, nor if there is no manifest repentance afterwards. Sentences for deliberately causing injury, as well as threats and assaults on a woman, are also increased, and the sentence for premeditated murder of a woman is changed from life to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

As far as health workers are concerned, the legislative reform puts an end to the practice of releasing aggressors pending trial if they have caused injuries, in addition to – as in the case of women – putting an end to reducing sentences for good conduct. Likewise, in the case of unintentional medical negligence, it will be the State that will bear the expenses to compensate the affected patients, and not the health professionals as until now.

Legislation passed yesterday in Turkey’s parliament also makes bullying a crime for the first time; in this way, those who persecute or harass women – directly or indirectly by any means – causing concern for their safety or that of their family environment, may be sentenced to between 6 months and 2 years in prison; if, in addition, the harassment is committed against a child or a former partner, the prison sentence is increased to 3 years.