Recommendations on Effective Response to Domestic Violence

On February 29, 2016, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Social Service Agency with a recommendation concerning ineffective response to the cases of domestic violence and problems in coordination.

The study of cases by the Public Defender's Office showed that during responding to the cases of domestic violence law enforcement officers use the practice of warning instead of issuing a restraining order. In cases of psychological violence, not involving physical violence, police officers find it difficult to issue a restraining order.

Law enforcement officers justify the use of the measure of warning by the victim’s wish. However, this argument cannot be regarded as correct, as in most cases police officers do not explain to victims the essence of the restraining order; they do not explain that the warning does not have any legal consequences either.

There were cases when victims had been appealing to the law enforcement agencies for several years. Each appeal was considered by law enforcement agencies as a separate case and therefore, the continuous nature of the democratic violence was not taken into account.

In order to ensure effective response to domestic violence, the Public Defender called on the Minister of Internal Affairs to develop special instructions on prohibition of the use of warning by police and to tighten control over its execution. In the recommendation the Public Defender also requested re-training of the employees involved in the cases indicated in the recommendation.

In addition, the Public Defender considers that inter-agency cooperation is crucial in terms of detection of cases of domestic violence and ensuring effective responses to them. Therefore, it is necessary the Social Service Agency to cooperate with responsible state agencies during examination of the cases of domestic violence.

The Public Defender called on the Social Service Agency to develop special guidelines with regard to social services and to carry out strict monitoring of their implementation. At the same time, the facts of dissemination of incorrect and unverified information by territorial bodies of the Social Service Agency must be eliminated.

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