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Alarming Statistic of Domestic Violence in Kakheti

April 1, 2011

Natia Danelishvili, Kakheti News Center

According to the survey of the“National Network of Protection from Violence”the highest rating of domestic violence was observed in Kakheti region. 92% of the interviewed people suffer from violence in their families; 86% is victim of physical assault; 67% permanently fears of attack from a family member. 64% of the victims were raped by their husbands; 29% was under physical or sexual oppression from the spouse during pregnancy.

The Survey

The survey was carried out in every region of Georgia in summer and autumn of 2010 with the support of Estonian Foreign Ministry. The purpose of the survey was to study the problem of domestic violence in the country. About 1250 persons were interviewed in Georgia. According to the survey results, every third woman is victim of domestic violence in Georgia.

53% of husbands abuse their spouses. There are cases of violence from the father, former husband or partner.

Most facts of violence occur at home. So, 48% of the interviewed people do not feel safe at home. Most facts ended with physical abuse and in 40% it had grave results.

The survey demonstrated that in 53% the women become victims of the violence from husbands, in 17 % they are victims of their fathers; in 6% women are abused by their partners; former husbands are harassers in 8%; brother in -6% sons, uncles, grandfathers, etc abuse women in 3% of the cases.

The surveys showed that one fifth of the men, who abuse their wives, were sober during the incident. In 80% of cases drunken men attack wives or female relatives; in 6% they were under influence of narcotics.

40% of the interviewed people had feeling they are victims of sexual violence from their husbands.

According to the survey, every six victim of violence was taken to hospital after the incident. But in those cases when the victim did not apply to the doctor, the women were ashamed and felt themselves guilty for their husbands’ behavior.

Chair of the Kakheti Regional Committee of the “National Network of Protection From Violence” Jilda Nibladze said their Committee assisted 257 victims of domestic violence in 2010 in Kakheti region. In 2011, they assisted about 70 persons already. She added that most facts of domestic violence were observed in Kvareli district.

“Most victims of domestic violence apply to us from Kvareli district. Supposedly, the reason of the high rating of domestic violence in this district is high number of ethnic minorities living there who have different traditions. Many incidents occur in the mountainous Georgia. The main reason of the domestic violence is social-economic problems. Most men are unemployed in Georgia and women happen to work harder which later results into the disagreement in the family. Unemployed men often drink and it aggravates the conflict farther,” said Jilda Nibladze.

Number of Applicants

In accordance to the Law of Georgia on Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection of and Support to Its Victims, domestic violence stands for violation of constitutional rights and freedoms of one family member by the other, in conjunction with physical, psychological or sexual violence, coercion or threat to undertake such actions.

Head of Telavi office of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association Marekh Mgaloblishvili said women are abused by their parents-in-laws too in Kakheti region.

“Not only husbands, but parents-in-laws also abuse women. The victims often have bruises and other injuries on their bodies. Recently, more victims apply to us for help; and of course women are most of them. About 4-5 persons apply to us per day. There are cases of the attempted murder, injury of the body and other incidents,” said Marekh Mgaloblishvili.

Many victims apply to the Kakheti office of the Human Rights Center too. The lawyer Lia Khuroshvili said mostly the applicants have injuries on their bodies and consequently, the organization appeals to the prosecutor’s office for help.

“I should underscore that Gurjaani district prosecutor’s office, which monitors Gurjaani, Lagodekhi and Kvareli districts, adequately responds to the facts of domestic violence. In 2010, several violator husbands were detained and convicted. I cannot say the same about the police officers and judges. The Law of Georgia on Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection of and Support to Its Victims envisages issue of protective and restrictive orders to protect the victim from the violence. Unfortunately, in Kakheti region police officers do not issue restrictive orders and the court does not issue protective orders regardless sufficient evidence on concrete cases,” said Lia Khuroshvili.

In order to resolve the problem lawfully, citizens can apply to the legal aid service department within the Ministry of Correction, Probation and Legal Aid. However, few women apply to the Kakheti office of the legal aid department for similar problem. Bureau consultant Meri Khachidze clarified that due to Georgian mentality, women still avoid to publicly discuss the facts of domestic violence in their families.

“Last year, several victims applied to us. Nobody has applied to us this year yet but it does not mean that no violence facts occur in the families now. Just the opposite; it happens quite often but due to Georgian mentality the victim women try to hide those facts and apply to corresponding agencies only in urgent situation,” said Khachidze.

Psychologists think many factors are guilty in creating a violator from the person; among them is Georgian mentality, poor social conditions and violence from parents in childhood.

Nana Khoshtaria, psychologist of the Consulting Center for Women “House”: “Many factors can make a person violator. A person, who experience violence in the childhood, might become violator himself. He saw his father abuse his mother and concluded that it was an ordinary tool to resolve disagreements. Social welfare is another risk-factor which can provoke a violator in a person. Georgian mentality is another reason for formation violence in the person; a man can be a violator because he is a male and he can quarrel and beat woman. Big part of violators thinks they should abuse others to reinforce their positions and it is an ordinary behavior for them.”

Nana Khoshtaria added that in order to reduce and prevent domestic violence the problem shall become more urgent in our society.

“The problem of domestic violence shall become more urgent in the society. More discussions shall be dedicated to the topic in educational institutions. Young people shall be clarified that problems cannot be resolved with violence. We should work with violators and provide them with psychological assistance,” said Nana Khoshtaria.

309-903 is hotline where victims of domestic violence can call State Fund for Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking in Person. The Fund protects the legal interests of the victims, places him/her in the shelter in case of necessity and provides them with legal, psychological and medical assistance. They assist the victims in reintegration in their families and society.

Public Defender: “Few Protective and Restrictive Orders Are Issued”

Public Defender of Georgia Giorgi Tugushi said that based on the statistic data, protective and restrictive orders are rarely issued in Georgia particularly in the regions.

“Center of Child’s and Women’s Rights at the Public Defender’s Office requested information from the Supreme Court about the number of protective and restrictive orders issued by the first instance courts in 2007-2010 in the regions of Georgia. According to their reply, Telavi district court has issued only one protective order; but no restrictive orders were issued by the court,” said Tugushi.

He added that when a person is injured during the domestic violence (for example physical assault), police starts criminal investigation. If a criminal prosecution against the violator is dropped, no punishment will be imposed on him. Since the police officer does not issue restrictive order on the violator, no administrative restrictions will be imposed on him.

“In similar dynamic, the victim of domestic violence remains unprotected and no corresponding measures are taken to prevent the violence. Consequently, when responding on the facts of domestic violence, the police officers should consider the following circumstance: criminal prosecution on the fact does not restrict the police to use administrative mechanism – restrictive order - for the safety of the victim,” said the Public Defender.

The ombudsman recommended to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to continue trainings of the police officer about domestic violence; it should continue particularly in those regions of Georgia where few or no victims appeal to the police for help.