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

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The FINANCIAL — The Parliament of Georgia adopted draft law on “Violence against Women and/or Prevention of Domestic Violence, Protection and Assistance to the Victims of Violence” and other subsequent amendments in the third reading, elaborated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Also, to strengthen gender equality and empower women, the state is implementing a unified and coordinated policy. The U.S. Embassy salutes country’s steps towards overcoming any kind of violence.

Adopted legislative changes create additional mechanisms to increase the effectiveness of protection for victims of domestic violence and violence against women.

Domestic violence is one of the most severe and extensive form of abuse. It occurs across the world, in various countries and affects people of all economic statuses. Traditionally, domestic abuse has hidden and long-term character, Domestic violence takes place between family members when one family member or members resorts to violence against another family member/s. Often society associates domestic violence only with physical abuse between spouses or intimate partners but according to the legislation today, domestic violence has a much broader definition, including sexual, psychological and economic abuse as well as coercion.

Georgia pays special attention to the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence, relevant response, and provision of services. The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia enforces a strict criminal law policy to combat violence against women and domestic violence and to protect victims.

According to the law, in parallel with issuing restraining order, it will be possible to impose electronic surveillance on the abuser in case if there is a real threat of recurrence of violence. The legislative package will enter into force on September 1, 2020. The aforementioned changes will help prevent the recurrence of violence against women, domestic violence and provide effective protection mechanism for the victims.

The bill, which was voted on by 79 MPs in the 150-member parliament, says that possible perpetrators of domestic violence and their targets will have to wear electronic surveillance bracelets for one month if there is a high chance of repeated violence. The Interior Ministry representative will be able to request electronic surveillance measures from a court while issuing a restraining order or any time if there is the necessity. The court will have 24 hours to approve/deny the request.  A possible perpetrator will be banned from visiting the sites the possible target appears at. The perpetrator will face criminal prosecution if he/she attempts to avoid the electronic surveillance or violates the mandatory rules of using the bracelet, as reported by local news website agenda.ge

Fight against domestic violence is the top priority for Georgian government and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Ministry actively cooperates with NGOs, international organizations and other institutions in order to combat domestic violence.

The U.S. Embassy commends Parliament and its Human Rights & Civil Integration Committee, under the leadership of Sopo Kiladze, for adopting important legislation aimed at protecting victims of child abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking. The new legislation increases penalties for serious sex offenses against children, improves sentencing consistency, and clarifies provisions that were vague or at risk of being used ineffectively. This legislation has the potential to greatly strengthen Georgia’s ability to deter, prosecute, and vigorously punish offenders and to protect children and other vulnerable persons from these heinous threats.

“We must all work relentlessly to eradicate child exploitation from our communities, and these new laws are a key step toward that goal. The U.S. Embassy will continue to advocate for, and invest in, effective solutions to protect children. Georgia has shown leadership in adopting this legislation. We stand ready to assist with its implementation and with further reforms to improve victim protection and hold perpetrators to account,” The U.S. Embassy stated.

To strengthen gender equality and empower women, the state is implementing a unified and coordinated policy. This policy prioritizes the elimination of all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence and sexual abuse, also seeking to ensure women’s economic empowerment, women’s increased participation in decision-making, including supporting their employment in public service, and the empowerment of female public servants, also protection of women’s reproductive health and rights, elimination of malicious and discriminatory practices, ensuring access to education and lifelong professional development opportunities for women and girls, women’s enhanced engagement in the implementation of the peace and security agenda, and maintenance of gender-related statistics. Read more.

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