Abusers to be monitored electronically in Georgia

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The FINANCIAL — The Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that domestic abusers will have to wear electronic monitoring bracelets as a way for keeping them away from their victims. As the pattern of increasing abuse, since the COVID-19 lockdowns have started, is already very noticeable around the world, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is not losing sight of the work it has been doing to tackle domestic violence. The legislative changes that came into force provide for the possibility of carrying out the electronic surveillance of perpetrators of violence in addition to the issuance of a restraining order, given a real danger of the recurrence of violence. The risk of the recurrence of violence is assessed on the basis of a questionnaire integrated into the protocol of the restraining order. If an abuser violates the restraining order, the electronic monitoring bracelet sends an alarm to local police units. Both the police and the victim are then alerted immediately.

The decision to impose electronic surveillance takes into account the level of risk of the recurrence of violence, the commission of a violent crime by the perpetrator in the past, the use of bladed weapons or firearms during the perpetration of violence, and other circumstances. The consent of the victim or his/her legal representative/procedural representative is required for the establishment of electronic surveillance. In case of the establishment of electronic surveillance, an electronic bracelet is fitted to the perpetrator’s body. As a result, the proximity of the perpetrator to the victim or a predefined location is controlled in real time. The establishment of electronic surveillance is subject to judicial control. The bill was initiated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs with the aim of increasing and refining guarantees for the safety of victims.

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Prior to the enactment of the bill, the best practices of foreign countries were shared with the support of UN WOMEN, and the relevant subordinate acts were prepared with expert involvement. UN WOMEN donated 100 electronic devices (bracelets) and the corresponding infrastructure to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to support the implementation of the system.

Legislative changes came into force which in parallel with issuing the restraining order provide for the possibility of imposing electronic surveillance on abuser in case of violence recurrence real threat. The risk of recurrence of violence shall be assessed based on a questionnaire integrated into the restraining order protocol. Electronic surveillance shall be carried out for a period not more that the period of validity of a restraining order, which shall not exceed the period of 1 month. As a result of attaching the bracelet to abuser’s body, approaching of an abuser to a victim, as well as approaching to pre-defined areas shall be controlled in real-time. The issue of establishing electronic surveillance shall be subject to judicial control. The report, issued by the police, shall be submitted to the court for approval within 24 hours, according to The Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The Ministry said that they are taking a number of measures in this direction and high-risk, repeat offenders will be required to wear a GPS tracking device. The Ministry also stated that as a result, the law enforcement agencies will be able to control the abuser’s movement in the pre-determined area via the GPS system.

It is also important to note that The Code on the Rights of the Child also entered into force from September 1. At a special event dedicated to this important occasion, representatives of Parliament and the Diplomatic corps spoke about the importance of the Code on the Rights of the Child and reviewed the work undertaken thus far. The event was also attended by the representatives of municipalities, civil society, and religious leaders who have been actively involved in discussions around the Code. The Code on the Rights of the Child was developed at the initiative of the Chair of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, Ms. Sopho Kiladze, with active support from UNICEF.

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UNICEF Representative in Georgia Dr. Ghassan Khalil congratulated Georgia on this groundbreaking achievement and said that he believed the Code on the Rights of the Child will have a long-lasting effect on the lives of Children in Georgia. He also that UNICEF commends the efforts of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee, and appreciates the leadership of Ms. Sopho Kiladze, in the process of development and adoption of the Code. 

U.S. Embassy commends steps of Georgia towards overcoming the violence

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