Monitoring of Service Facility (Shelter) of Victims of Domestic Violence

On 13 and 30 September, 2016, the Department of Gender Equality of the Public Defender's Office carried out monitoring of Tbilisi’s service facilities (shelters)of victims of trafficking and domestic violence that are administered by the State Fund of Protection and Assistance of Victims of Human Trafficking.

The aim of the monitoring was to assess the situation in the service facilities (shelters), as well as to detect violations, respond to them and prepare relevant recommendations. Physical environment, food quality and service delivery were examined during the monitoring; the beneficiaries and the staff of the shelter were interviewed.

During the visit, it was discovered that the service facilities of victims of trafficking and domestic violence were merged in September and the victims of both categories have had the same administrative staff since then. Accordingly, during the visit, the items, stock inventory and products were being moved from one place to another due to the reorganization and integration of the shelters. That is why the Department of Gender Equality carried out a repeated visit on September 30 in order to check the gaps caused by the reorganization, which needed correction.

The initial results of the monitoring show that there is a favorable environment in the shelter for the victims of both domestic violence and trafficking. The beneficiaries positively evaluated the service delivered to them and their treatment. However, a number of issues were revealed that need improvement.

It should be noted that the psychologist of the shelter took a leave in August 20, 2016, due to her pregnancy, childbirth and child care, while the shelter found her replacement only after a month, during which, no psychologist’s service had been provided to the beneficiaries of the shelter.

The social worker of the shelter was on leave for the same reason and her function/duties were fulfilled by a babysitter. As for the babysitting duties, they were fulfilled by other staff members, which had some free time during the day. In this regard, we would like to note that it is necessary to timely replace the staff members and clearly define their responsibilities, as they directly affect the service quality.

The shelter does not have a position of a lawyer. The monitoring showed that the beneficiaries, if necessary, are provided legal aid by a hotline lawyer or lawyers of the central office of the fund’s legal department. Attention was also paid to the issue of health care, as a result of which, it was found out that examination of beneficiaries upon admission to the shelter is just formal and involves only oral questioning about current and past illnesses. Therefore, it is important that appropriate measures be taken for the prevention of infectious disease and other risks.

As for the gaps in terms of infrastructure, the first floor of the building is damp and requires repair. The rooms are not equipped with air conditioning, no privacy is observed between shower cabins, infrastructure of bathrooms is damaged. The number of bathrooms does not comply with the established standards when the shelter is fully loaded. In addition, physical environment needs to be arranged for persons with disabilities.

The Public Defender's Office continues to evaluate the service institutions of victims of domestic violence for further improvement of the service.

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