Public Defender's Proposal regarding Early Marriage Case
On February 24 the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Ministry of Education and Science and the Social Service Agency with regard to the ineffective response to the fact of early marriage of 14-year-old T.A. in Kaspi municipality.
The Public Defender's Office has learnt that 14-year-old T.A. and 17-year-old A.V. started cohabitation on their parents’ initiative. Given the fact that both persons were minor and could not be held criminally responsible, no investigation has been launched.
According to the information provided by Kaspi Educational Resource Center of the Ministry of Education and Science, T.A.’s student status has been suspended. In the given case it is clear that the parents neglected the true interests of the juvenile, though the school administration did not send any notification to the Social Service Agency within the child protection referral procedures.
Results of the examination carried out by the Public Defender showed that the territorial unit of the Social Service Agency did not fully study the case of early marriage of T.A. The information provided to the Public Defender, did not indicate the measures taken to restrict education; in addition, it was not evaluated how safe was the environment and the condition of the minor. The proof of the abovementioned was the fact that Kaspi Regional Department of the Social Service Agency focused only on voluntary nature of the marriage, while specific measures that should have be taken with regard to the case of early marriage were not mentioned at all.
The Public Defender is concerned about the records of the juveniles and their parents, written on the initiative of the Social Service Agency, which confirm negligence of the child’s interests and responsibility of the parents, however, these documents were used by the territorial unit of the Social Service Agency as an evidence that no problem existed.
The Public Defender calls on the Social Service Agency to thoroughly study the mentioned case, take measures envisaged by the legislation and study fulfillment of obligations by the authorized person of the territorial unit of the Social Service Agency.
The Public Defender urges the Ministry of Education and Science to study fulfillment of obligations by the school administration within the child protection referral procedures around the restriction on T.A.’s right to education; to study fulfillment of requirements of the child protection referral procedures by structural units of the agency and to ensure proper response to the violation of the requirements of law.