On 16 September 2015, the Chairperson of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, Eka Beselia, presented a report on the work done by her Committee. The MP pointed out that 2015 has been proclaimed as the year for the protection of women’s rights. The United National Movement MP, Tina Bokuchava, commented on this and said: "Ms Beselia said that 2015 has been proclaimed as the year for the protection of women’s rights; however, the enactment of the norm which would have been very important for the protection of women’s rights has been postponed for two years; namely, the enactment of the family violence victims protection programme."FactCheck
took interest in the MP’s statement and verified its accuracy.
Family violence remains among the most severe problems in Georgia. A total of 45 murders were committed on the basis of family violence from 2009 to 2014. About 16 of these cases were recorded in Tbilisi whilst the remaining 29 were registered in the regions. The complete statistics of 2015 have not been published as of yet.
According to the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia which presents statistics from January to June 2015, a total of 1,478 restraining orders have been issued on the basis of family violence (a restraining order is a document issued by a police officer, determining the measures to be taken for the temporary protection of victims of family violence. It is presented to the court within 24 hours of its issuance. The restraining order is issued by the police officer immediately upon responding to the act of violence). The greatest number of restraining orders, at 302, was issued in January.
A total of 1,286 women and 196 men became victims of family violence in the January to June 2015 period. The highest rate of violence is recorded in the age category from 25 to 44 years. Of the various types of family violence, physical (667) and psychological violence (1,388) are prevalent in Georgia. The highest number of incidences of family violence was recorded in Tbilisi (556) whilst the lowest number was recorded in Mtskheta-Mtianeti (20).
According to the same data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, proceedings were commenced against 455 individuals in the aforementioned January to June 2015 period. Of this number, 432 are men and 23 women. A total of 510 individuals have been recognised as victims (80 men and 425 women).FactCheck
interviewed the United National Movement MP, Tina Bokuchava. In her conversation with us she clarified that what she had in mind when making her statement was the full enactment of the legislative norm. However, it must be pointed out that this norm has already been enacted. The Law on the Prevention of Family Violence, Protection and Assistance for Victims of Family Violence was adopted in 2006. Amendments were made to the law in 2009 according to which Article 20 of the law, which envisaged rehabilitation programmes for offenders, would be enacted by 1 July 2015. Hence, as pointed out earlier, the law has been adopted but one specific article (Article 20) has not been enacted as of yet.
Article 20 of the Law on the Prevention of Family Violence, Protection and Assistance for Victims of Family Violence reads that offender rehabilitation programmes are aimed at providing them with psychological and social assistance and envisages the implementation of rehabilitation activities.FactCheck
spoke to the initiator of the amendments to this law, Guguli Maghradze, as well. Ms Maghradze stated that according to these amendments, social service mechanisms will be enacted vis-à-vis issues of family violence, social workers will be retrained and rehabilitation programmes for offenders will be created. In addition, a special course, aimed at changing the attitude of the offender, will be organised. The aforementioned activities have not yet started but the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance of Georgia has already been tasked with their creation.
According to Ms Maghradze’s explanation, all other norms of the Law on the Prevention of Family Violence, Protection and Assistance for Victims of Family Violence, including the protection programme for victims of family violence, have been active since 2006. According to the MP’s statement, the enactment of Article 20 of the law could not be done by 1 July 2015 due to the fact that a responsible government structure had not been determined and there was a lack of funding.
During the consideration of the bill, the Healthcare and Social Issues Committee of the Parliament of Georgia requested postponing the enactment of Article 20 of the bill until 1 September 2017. However, the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia moved this date closer, suggesting that certain points of the article could be implemented by 1 October 2015 whilst the full implementation will happen before 1 July 2016.
Conclusion The Law on the Prevention of Family Violence, Protection and Assistance for Victims of Family Violence was adopted in 2006 and is operational. Hence, Tina Bokuchava was incorrect to say that this law has not been enacted and that its enactment was postponed by a decision of the Parliamentary Majority. In her conversation with FactCheck
the MP admitted her unintended error and apologised for the misinterpretation of the fact.
As pointed out earlier, the law is already active but its Article 20, which provides for rehabilitation programmes for offenders, has not yet been enacted. The Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia set 1 July 2016 as the final date for the full enactment of the aforementioned Article 20.FactCheck concludes that Tina Bokuchava’s statement is MOSTLY FALSE.