AS A GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS SIGNED THE CHILD RIGHTS AGREEMENT, IT IS IMPORTANT WE REMEMBER TO MAKE IT A POLICY TO ENSURE THAT THE CHILDREN BENEFIT WITH EVERY STEP.
Looking at the situation of children, we see that sexual abuse towards children, underage marriages of female children and the situation of refugee children are the top three on the list of problems of female children. Despite the absence on the agenda of cyber violence, physical violence at home and bullying against our peers in schools which is the most intense violence we have laid in front of us, plus among all the other problems, these three seem to be coming out ahead.
This report basically covers three topics (1) Pedophilia (2) Marriage of underage female children (3) Refugee children.
Summary as follows:
PEDOPHILIA , which until the last few years has been hidden in Turkey, and globally, is the most important problem. Because of the secrecy of the identity of the perpetrator, the fact that they live seemingly normal lives in the community, are in some cases respected professionals and the long length of time that the perpetrator has secret contact with the child makes it difficult to bring the crime into the open. Fear forces the child to hide what they are experiencing, an insufficient number of qualified experts to interview the children ins confidence also causes the problem to remain hidden.
Most Pedophiles are under the illusion that what they do to their victims is helping them. Even though they deceive themselves into thinking that what they are doing is adding to the child’s development and that the child gets pleasure from it, they still warn the child not to tell anyone. A Pedophile cannot stop themselves and cannot be cured.
According to reports, in the last 4 years, worldwide child abuse or physical violence has gone up by 90%.
It is estimated that reported rape is only 5% and that 95% remains concealed. Only 1 in 1000 incestuous relationships ever comes out into the open. İn the courts, one out of every four rape cases concerns a child victim. According to the Justice department report for 2014, every month the Turkish forensic medicine department for the courts receive 650 child abuse victims.
Finally, giving education targetting children and families on; how to identify what is good and bad touching, how to say no to and prevent unwanted actions against the person and how a child can defend themselves. To achieve this the education system should include training, commencing with firstly teachers, followed by health workers and educators, social service specialists , training to be given by psychologists who will give a multi-discipline and wide range of education. Universities, especially with departments working on this subject, should be in the forefront of those institutions which should benefit from such a program. Working together is most important . Apart from this, the courts held that, in a handicapped child abuse case, where the child is over 50% mentally handicapped “premature ejaculation” counts for a decrease in punishment against the guilty party and where the continuation of good manners and decent behaviour exists, discounts should apply. Further, we witnessed the traumatisation of the child who was sent for medical examination 5 times. Therefore, to internalise the training of the judiciary and the principle of the best interests of the child is very important.
UNDER-AGE MARRIAGE OF FEMALE CHILDREN is a problem that is seen throughout all regions of the world, and seems to be especially more widespread in the undeveloped or developing countries.
According to UNICEF’s 2014 report states that worldwide over 700 million females are married under the age of 18. A third of this number, that means almost 250 million children were married under the age of 15. According to the 2015 report; girls who married under 15 was 3%, and 14% of those who married were under 18. It became a frequent occurrence that girls between the ages of 15 and 19 died due to pregnancy or during giving birth. The UNICEF report states that every year 70,000 young female children lost their lives due to pregnancy or during childbirth.
WHO (World Health Organization) reported in 2013 that between 2011 and 2020 more than 140 million female children would be married and that of those a predicted 50 million would be under the age of 15.
UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) reported that in developing countries every day 1 in every 3 girls married before they reached the age of 18, 1 in 9 married under the age of 15. That could drop to as low as the age of 8 in that group. In the next 10 years it is predicted that every year 13.5 million female children will marry before they reach the age of 18. Accordingly every day 37,000 female children will get married.
TÜİK (Turkish Statistic Institute) reported that of all the marriages in Turkey, 28% – 35% were of children under the age of consent and at the very least comprised a number of 181,036 children.
In order to find an answer to this problem the first steps should be as follows: A system should be set up to ensure that the laws in place are adhered to and complied with. An application to the Justice Department, that laws, in accordance with International Agreements, to establish the definition of ‘a child’ according to the law, should be made. The Turkish Penalty Laws should be revised and the punishment for the crimes increased to prevent the criminal activity. Parents whose children have not completed their compulsory education and training should be identified and they should receive warnings of serious repercussions in the event of the child’s education not being completed.
Studies, including the dangers of marriage at a young age, should be included in the school curriculum. There should be a campaign for an increase in social responsibility projects organised, TV programmes which are closely followed by the public could be encouraged to have subtitles, text insertions etc., concerning the dangers of marriage at a young age, at the bottom of the screen in order to inform and educate the viewers.
REFUGEE CHILDREN have problems which concern them specifically. When we look at education in terms of refugee children who are children living on the streets, particularly young girls, of the age of children, forced into marriage and children forced into crime, these must be considered first.
UNICEF’s report states that of the 642,867 registered Syrian refugees found in the refugee camps, 34% in the camps and 66% outside of the camps, 53% (341,362) are children. In addition to this, it is estimated that, 150,000 unregistered Syrian citizens are living in Turkey.
At the last estimation 20% of children of school age who are living in the refugee camps and nearly 74% who are living outside the camps are not being educated.Roughly 80% (63,070) of the 75,000 children of school age in the camps are registered for school. Of the 175,000 school age children living outside the camps, 24% (46,000) are registered for school.
In all the larger cities where large communities of refugees, mainly child refugees, are to be found, child beggars, cut purse child thieves and child tissue sellers are mostly, Syrian refugee children. Before long, it should be known that there is a high probability that these children will turn into street criminals.
Measures to be taken, especially in time of crisis, and the first step must be taken as an early measure.
The first measure to be taken in the category of a time of crisis, is to first of all place on the Academy of Justice judiciary and awareness programs, information concerning this subject to ensure that they trained in the subject, health and psychology sector workers in the diploma and further education stages absolutely must have training in the subject. There should be a telephone line, a ‘child’s hello help line’ (ALO İMDAT) dedicated for children only, where the child can be sure that at the other end of the line is someone who they can talk to and who is a specialist trained in communicating with children, and a team who can mobilise immediately into action for intervention should be created as soon as possible. In order to make the punishment fit the crime, it’s important that the introduction of chemical castration practice as a first step, especially in terms of providing deterrence and punishment, is imposed.
As early measures, a basic strategy should be put in place to make sure that children are educated and taught to protect and defend themselves. For this to take place it is urgent that mothers, fathers and teachers start their training at the earliest possible.
*This report has been published at 2018 January
**This is a brief summary of the main report