Georgia: Update to GGA33992.E of 8 March 2000 on resources available to women who are victims of spousal abuse; state protection
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||11 February 2005|
|Citation / Document Symbol||GGA43342.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Georgia: Update to GGA33992.E of 8 March 2000 on resources available to women who are victims of spousal abuse; state protection, 11 February 2005, GGA43342.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42df60eb2f.html [accessed 16 April 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Information on the resources, including state protection, available to women who are victims of spousal abuse was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
According to Country Reports 2003, 795 crimes against women were registered in 2003, including 18 murders and 24 attempted murders; it is not known how many of these occurred in the context of spousal abuse (25 Feb. 2004, sec. 5). In addition, spousal abuse is "reportedly" a major factor in many divorces (Country Reports 2003 25 Feb. 2004), although sources indicate that because of "social taboos" victims rarely file official complaints of such abuse (ibid.; Freedom in the World 2003 23 Aug. 2004). Furthermore, according to Country Reports 2003, "there are no laws that specifically criminalize spousal abuse or violence against women" (25 Feb. 2004, sec. 5). The same source adds that "police did not always investigate reports of rape" (ibid.). Article 36 of the Constitution of Georgia states generally that: "marriage shall be based upon equality of rights and free will of spouses" (Georgia Aug. 1995).
The following are some of the relevant provisions of the criminal code of Georgia that came into effect on 15 February 2000.
Article 117. Intentional Damage to Health.
1. Intentional damage to health, i.e. bodily injury which is dangerous for health or has given rise to the loss of eye-sight, hearing, speech, or any organ or its function, psychic illness, miscarriage, irreparable face injury or such ill-health which is dangerous for life and is related to a major, no less than one third loss of general working ability or to a complete loss of professional working ability committed knowingly, – shall be punishable by imprisonment extending from one to eight years in length.
2. The same action perpetrated: ... b) against a pregnant woman at the previous knowledge of the perpetrator; ... n) repeatedly; ... shall be punishable by imprisonment ranging from five to twelve years in length.
Article 125. Assault and Battery
Assault and battery or other violence that has caused physical pain of the victim but has not been followed by the consequences referred to in Article 117 of this code, shall be punishable by fine or by socially useful labour for the term of one hundred and twenty to one hundred and eighty hours, or by corrective labour for the term not exceeding fifteen months or by jail sentence of up to two months in length.
Article 126. Torture
1. Regular beating or other violence that has resulted in the physical and psychical suffering of the victim but has not produced the consequence set out in Articles 117 or 118, – shall be punishable by restriction of freedom for the term not exceeding two years or by prison sentences not in excess of three years in length.
2. The same action perpetrated: ... b) against a pregnant woman at the previous knowledge of the criminal; ... shall be punishable by imprisonment ranging from three to six years in length, by deprivation of the right to occupy a position or pursue a particular activity for the term of three years or without it.
Article 137. Rape
1. Rape, i.e. sexual intercourse through violence, threat of violence or abusing the helplessness of the victim, – shall be punishable by imprisonment extending from three to seven years in length
3. Rape ... b) of a pregnant woman or other person at the previous knowledge of the offender ... shall be punishable by imprisonment for the term extending from from five to fifteen years in length. (Georgia 22 July 1999)
In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate on 2 February 2005, the founding co-director of the Caucasus Women's Research and Consulting Network (CWN) indicated that there is as yet no direct state protection available to women who are victims of domestic violence in Georgia. She added however that an interministerial programme to create a legal framework for protecting victims of domestic violence is currently being set up, with support from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (CWN 2 Feb. 2005). An OSCE press release indicates that a workshop on the fight against domestic violence was organized for the Georgian police in June 2003 (OSCE 10 June 2003).
Protection Offered by the Government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
Country Reports 2003 states that the only service provided by the government is a hotline for abused women (25 Feb. 2004, sec. 5).
A shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence is run by a local Georgian NGO (Country Reports 2003 25 Feb. 2004, sec. 5; CWN 2 Feb. 2005). According to the co-director of CWN, this shelter, located in Tbilisi, provides legal and psychological advice to victims (ibid.). It is the only such shelter in Georgia and suffers from a lack of resources (ibid.).
More generally, Country Reports 2003 mentions that women's rights are promoted by various NGOs, including the women's section of the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association, the Women's Center, and Women for Democracy (25 Feb. 2004).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Caucasus Women's Research and Consulting Network (CWN), Tbilisi. 2 February 2005. Correspondence from the co-director.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003. 25 February 2004. United States Departement of State. Washington, DC.
Freedom House. 23 August 2004. "Georgia". Freedom in the World 2003.
Georgia. 22 July 1999 (came into effect on 15 February 2000). The Criminal Code of Georgia. In: UNHCR Refworld.
_____. 24 August 1995 (including amendments up to 1 July 2004). The Constitution of Georgia.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). 10 June 2003. "OSCE Begins Training for Georgian Police Officers on Combating Domestic Violence."
Additional Sources Consulted
Attempts to contact the following Tbilisi-based NGOs were unsuccessful: Gender Development Association, IDP Women Association, International Society for Human Rights (ISHR).
The following NGOs were contacted, but did not respond within the given time constraints: Assist Yourself (Association of IDPs from Abkhazia), Tbilisi; Sukhumi Cultural-Humanitarian Fund, Kutaisi; Horizonti Foundation for the Third Sector, Tbilisi; People's Harmonious Development Foundation (PHDS), Tbilisi; UNDP Country Office in Georgia, Tbilisi.
Internet sources, including: Amnesty International (AI); European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI); Human Rights Watch (HRW); IGC – Women's Net; International Media Database (IMD); Network of East- West Women (NEWW); Radio Free Europe; Regional Program in Support of Gender in Development in Central Asia, the Cauacasus and Turkey of the UNDP's Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS (RBEC); UNICEF; UNIFEM; Women Watch; World News Connection (WNC).