Since the Turkish Penal Law Reform of 2004 and 2005, many important regulations on victim rights have been carried out. In the Penal Procedure Code of 2004, victim rights during the penal process are regulated collectively in a separate section. Further, the victim’s role in various transactions, their inclusion in a public claim as an injured party, and offender-victim mediation are foreseen. The Child Protection Act of 2005 contains several protective and supportive measures for children who have drifted into a life of crime but also for those who are neglected, abused, or victimized. The 2012 Act on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Against Women (which is based on the Council of Europe or Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence of 2011) regulates protective and preventive measures for victims of violence and establishes violence prevention and monitoring centers. For more information on victims’ rights in Turkey, see Sokullu-Akıncı/Dursun, Viktimoloji (Mağdurbilim), 3. Ed., 2016.
In addition to these regulations, a draft bill on the Victim Rights Act also currently exists. In the draft, the victim is defined as a person who has directly suffered physical, mental, psychological, or economic harm as a result of the commission of a crime. The draft bill sets forth the basic principles and rights of victims and regulates specific services for victims with certain characteristics (named as vulnerable groups), especially victims of sexual crimes. Furthermore, the provisions on state compensation for remedying the plight of victims are regulated for the first time in this context. Moreover, the regulations on the central and provincial organization of the Victim Rights Department established within the Ministry of Justice in 2013 are also very important reforms in terms of the construction of the institutional infrastructure for victim rights, which in turn will serve the protection and development of these rights. The bill is expected to be passed in 2018. See the official website of the Victim Rights Department of Ministry of Justice: http://www.magdur.adalet.gov.tr
Asst. Prof. Dr. Selman Dursun
Istanbul University Faculty of Law
Department of Penal and Penal Procedural Law