Turkey: incest to be defined as crime, minister says

20 December, 13:53

(ANSAmed) - ANKARA, DECEMBER 20 - The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Family and Social Policy are working together to have incest defined as a sexual abuse crime in the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), with a prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, as WB website reports. The TCK does not currently include a separate definition of incest, and this has proven to be a problem in every phase of legal processes concerning such cases. Consequently, there is no system to prevent incest or protect the victims of incestuous relationships. Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Sahin met with representatives of nongovernmental organizations on Tuesday to discuss the matter, according to the Haberturk daily. The announcement to define incest as a crime under the TCK was made by Sahin in response to criticism that parents who sexually abuse children receive minor punishment because incest itself is not currently punishable by law. The new regulation seeks to change Articles 103, 104 and 105 of the TCK to define incest as a crime. Data released by the Gazi University Child Protection Center revealed 498 cases of the rape or sexual abuse of minors reported to just one child protection center in Ankara this year. Of these cases, 332 were defined as sexual abuse, with 71 perpetrators claimed to be the biological fathers and 48 to be the biological mothers of the victims. According to data released by the National Police Department recently, around 400,000 children have been sexually abused by family members in the last 20 years. Statistics released as part of a collaborative effort by a number of civil society organizations in Turkey in 2009 suggest that 4% of all children in Turkey have been subjected to sexual abuse, with 70% of the victims younger than 10. The biggest risk faced by children who run away and live on the streets is sexual exploitation. Additionally, many children kidnapped in the southeastern provinces are forced into prostitution in western Turkey. (ANSAmed).

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