Victim of domestic violence fails to find lawyer

July 25, 2012, Wednesday/ 15:04:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

A woman forced by her husband to jump off a balcony has complained that she has not been able to find a lawyer to take her case.

Twenty-nine-year-old Fatma Şen, who was subjected to violence during her marriage, was forced by her husband to jump off the balcony after she asked her husband for a divorce. Şen has been undergoing treatment at a hospital for three weeks and underwent nine operations. The woman's spine was injured and one leg was broken and the heel of her right foot was shattered as a result of jumping off the balcony.

Şen has complained that she has not been able to find a lawyer although she requested help from several nongovernmental organizations for women's rights as well as the İstanbul Bar Association. She says she could not find a lawyer due to the bureaucratic processes. According to a report by the Radikal daily, the İstanbul Bar Association requested a certificate declaring poverty and a certificate of residence in order to appoint a lawyer for the woman, but Şen doesn't have these documents. According to the same report, the Women's Status General Directorate (KSGM) of the Ministry of Family and Social Policy requested a personal application in order to provide a lawyer for the woman, but Şen cannot do this as she has been in hospital.

Çiğdem Hacısoftaoğlu, a lawyer from Şiddete Son Platformu (The Platform to End Violence), an umbrella organization consisting of several women's rights groups, told the Radikal daily that women who are victims of domestic violence should be given legal support or a lawyer unconditionally. “We try to take women's cases voluntarily, but there are too many cases, so we cannot take them all. The state should provide lawyers for these women without setting any conditions,” Hacısoftaoğlu stated.

Another domestic violence incident occurred in Aksaray province on Tuesday. Fatma D., a mother of two children, was beaten by her husband and father-in-law because she had arrived home late. Her husband, Uğur D., and his father, Memiş D., reportedly assaulted the woman after she returned home after working at a milk factory. Fatma, who suffered injuries, was taken to hospital for treatment. The police have detained the husband and his father.

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