The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) put forward its proposals for amendments to the “sexual abuse” draft law to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on April 12.
“We have two separate proposals. When the draft law comes before the [parliamentary] commission, we want the scholars, sociologists, psychologists, and NGOs working on this issue to take the floor and to be heard by the commission members. Abuse continues to be a social wound,” said the CHP’s Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Engin Özkoç.
“We lay emphasis on abolishing the social grounds that lead to such incidents. Thus, our second proposal is to take social measures besides penal sanctions,” Özkoç said.
They have taken a “sensitive and constructive” stance to the draft law that was submitted to the Turkish Parliament by the government on April 9, he said ahead of his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ.
On the same day, Akdağ visited Özkoç and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Group Deputy Chair Erkan Akçay.
After the visits, he said there has been a “considerable consensus” among parliamentary groups of the parties.
“Of course there is not a hundred percent agreement on every subject. However, I believe the articles we have presented will make serious contributions to efforts to tackle child abuse. We have prepared an action plan for 2018. The Family and Social Policies Ministry has been developing an action plan for the coming five years,” Akdağ said, thanking the MHP and the CHP for their contributions.
After the meeting with Akdağ, Özkoç pointed out that even experts disagree on this issue. “We will try to put this action plan into practice immediately,” he said.
According to the draft law, the maximum limit of all sexual abuse crimes against children will be from 20 years to 40 years. Punishment for sexual crime will be increased from 30 years to 40 years if the child is under the age of 12.
It also proposed that courts should give life sentences to those who have committed sexual abuse against children under 12 through the use of force or weapons.
The draft law, which will be debated in the parliament’s justice committee, would also enable courts to order the chemical castration of such convicts.
The Health Ministry will also establish special centers for abused children, the draft law added.
The move comes in the wake of public anger after a string of sexual abuse cases against children.