Georgia: November 25 marks the International Day for the End of Violence Against Women

Tbilisi: The 25th November, for Georgia, marks the International Day for the End of Violence Against Women, which aims to raise public awareness, recognize existing challenges and design future strategies to combat violence. In addition, on this day, the 16-day global campaign against gender violence begins.

 Regardless of legislative or institutional changes, violence against women and domestic abuse in Georgia remains an challenge. There are still a number of problems that can be prevented, timely detection and effective response to cases.

 At the legal level, it is still a problem to make the definition of sexual violence in compliance with international standards, in particular, changing the existing definition of rape and the definition of a component of free and willful consent. The rate of marriage and engagement in childhood is alarming.

 According to statistics produced by the Service Development Agency, 479 girls registered as underage parents in 2020, 476 in 2021 and 189 in 6 months of 2022.

High rates of domestic violence and low prevention measures remain important challenges. According to the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, 6 520 arrest warrants were issued on the fact of possible domestic violence, and the investigation has begun on 3,064 facts. 

It is alarming that the scale of extreme forms of violence, killings of women and attempted murder does not seem to be declining from year to year. According to the official statistical data in the hands of the Ombudsman, in Georgia, 18 cases of murder of a woman have been reported, from which 11 cases of domestic crime have been detected. 

The rate of attempted murder is much higher, with 26 of the 32 cases of domestic crimes committed.

 Agreed and coordinated work between state agencies regarding women and cases of domestic violence remains a challenge. As a result, the state’s response to gender-based crimes is ineffective. This approach significantly weakens the implementation of criminal policy in practice.

 The growth of women’s economic independence is directly correlated with the ability to leave a violent environment. Supporting long-term housing, employment and vocational training opportunities, and women’s economic support is essential in the process. 

In addition, it is necessary to conduct public awareness campaigns and integrate equality principles in all types of teaching, which will later guarantee fundamental equality.

 Accordingly, the Ombudsman of Georgia calls on the Georgian Parliament, Central and Local Authorities to prioritize the following measures:

Let sexual violence legislation, and according to international standards, the definition of sexual violence should be based on the absence of free, genuine and arbitrary consent of the victim;

Integrate gender equality issues in all kinds of education and plan awareness campaigns to raise public awareness on gender equality and domestic violence;

Approval of national referral procedures for the identification, protection, assistance and rehabilitation of victims of domestic violence against women and/or domestic violence;

 Plan appropriate projects and programs to support women’s economic empowerment.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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