Statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which was first observed in 1999 on the basis of the resolution 54/134 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Celebration of this Day aims to raise public awareness on violence against women, which is a matter of particular significance in Georgia.

Despite the fact that the state has taken a number of steps, including the signing of the Council of Europe's 2011 Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, development of common approach and vision by relevant state agencies remains a problem.

The reality in terms of violence against women, particularly in terms of killing of women, is concerning. According to the data of the Chief Prosecutor's Office, investigation was launched in 17 criminal cases of killing and attempted killing of women in the first half of 2015. 9 out of the 17 cases took place in the family, while 3 cases were committed on grounds of gender.

Given the extent and severity of the problem, more efforts are needed to help every woman feel safe from violence and be hopeful for getting proper assistance in case she appeals for it. Involvement of social workers in the issues of combating and preventing violence against women and domestic violence has great importance, though this has not been achieved in Georgia so far.

Early marriage, one of the forms of violence against women, deserves particular attention. The rate of early marriages is very high, which is, unfortunately, left beyond the statistics. 265 marriages were registered among persons between 16 and 18 years of age (when at least one person was a minor) in the first half of 2015. However, the number of informal early marriages is much higher. This is proved by the number of girls who were minors at the time of childbirth. 1527 juvenile mothers were registered in 2014.

It is unfortunate that despite a number of recommendations and calls made by the Public Defender, Georgia still does not have a unified state policy to prevent early marriage, while coordination among state agencies is weak in this direction.

The Public Defender joins the 23 November 2015 address of UN Special Rapporteur Dubravka Šimonović on the causes and consequences of violence against women, according to which, all states must commit to prevent gender-related killing of women and establish a ‘Femicide Watch’ or a ‘Gender-Related Killing of Women Watch’, while every year, on 25 November, they must present a detailed analysis of the cases of violence against women.

It is noteworthy that on 9 November 2015 the Public Defender of Georgia met with the UN Special Rapporteur and introduced the results of the monitoring of killing of women. At a press conference after the meeting, Ms. Dubravka thanked the Public Defender and spoke about the necessity of unified statistical data.

The Public Defender of Georgia continues efforts for combating violence against women and calls on the authorities to take all efforts for preventing and eliminating violence against women and domestic violence.

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