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Strengthening the system of prevention of domestic violence and protection of victims of violence in Georgia

Home violence is one of the biggest problems in Georgia today. The system of home violence prevention and protection of its victims does not keep up with the needs. Trainings and awareness-raising campaigns are organised mainly in big cities, where most of the shelters and crisis centres are located. The regions lack suitable actions and assistance centres. This results in poor violence awareness among the inhabitants and insufficient preparation of professionals who tackle the problem of violence. Support for female victims of home violence is non-existent. The project was implemented in the three regions where the needs were the most acute: Megrelia, Guria and Samtskhe-Javakheti.

The project’s first module (in 2017) was addressed to policemen, psychologists and teachers – professionals who deal with violence in their work. These professional groups are an important link in the system of violence prevention and protection of its victims. Other groups involved in the project were: NGOs’ staff and employees of support centres for home violence victims and the future staff of the Samegrelo shelter as well as pupils participating in home violence awareness projects. The project’s beneficiaries were women experiencing violence who were given professional support.

The second module of the project (in 2018) gave women and children, the victims of home violence, the opportunity to use the shelter. Policemen from the Guria and Svaneti regions were also the beneficiaries of the project. Healthcare staff were engaged in the training system for the first time. Cooperation with psychologists continued, and local specialists learned training skills.

The project was developed and co-financed under the Polish Aid programme of 2016 implemented by the HumanDoc Foundation in Georgia (Samegrelo).

Strengthening the system of prevention of domestic violence and protection of victims of violence in Georgia

The project consisted of two modules carried out in 2018-2019 across three Georgian regions – Samegrelo, Guria and Samtskhe-Javakheti and consisted in educational activities aimed at selected groups included in the home violence prevention system.

The HumanDoc foundation ran the project and partnered locally with the “Merkuri” association, the Anti-Violence Network of Georgia (AVNG) and the State Fund For Protection and Assistance of (Statutory) Victims of Human Trafficking.

The project responded to the insufficient system of home violence prevention and protection of its victims in western parts of Georgia. The immediate aims of the project were the extension of violence victims protection system by opening and running a shelter for home violence victims. The centre offered legal and psychological assistance and provided social and economic rehabilitation in the form of vocational trainings.

The trainings raised awareness on violence prevention and protection of violence victims, enhanced social awareness in western Georgia of home violence as a crime, the victims’ rights and the possibilities to react. The project managed to obtain accreditation for its syllabi from the state authorities.

The project brought assistance to women and children. They could also attend support groups. Thirty four of them were given the opportunity to learn new professions during 3-month-long courses. Members of professional groups whose proper qualifications are critical for the effective functioning of home violence prevention system (policemen, psychologists, teachers, healthcare staff) attended professional trainings. The activities were also aimed at the local community, particularly children, youth and their parents who participated in actions to raise awareness of home violence and their rights, and the staff of shelters already in operation.

The project furthers Priority 3 - human capital within the Multiannual Development Coordination Programme 2016-2020.

Strengthening the system of prevention of domestic violence and protection of victims of violence in Georgia

The project launched a shelter for victims of home violence. In 2018, 27 victims of home violence were given shelter and 34 women gained new professional qualifications and more financial independence. Moreover, a day centre was opened where the shelter staff provided legal and psychological counselling for a total of 21 women and 46 children. Over 200 people used the support group.

Training for 100 policemen, 27 psychologists and 50 teachers strengthened the violence prevention system. Fifteen people from NGOs, shelters, and local governments responsible for social care, shared their experiences at a study visit to Poland. The Samegrelo shelter staff participated in several study visits in Georgian institutions and organisations dealing with home violence.

Twenty seven school activities attended by children, youth, teachers and parents increased their knowledge and awareness of home violence. Fifteen of the participants completed a course in training skills and are now ready for independent training work.

The project sustainability and the persistence of its results are ensured by the distributed handouts. The teachers received copies of a handbook on dealing with violence that had been especially prepared for this occasion. The doctors were given handbooks “Home violence – a guide for health care staff.” The policemen received action cards (a full sized poster to be hung in the office and personal, pocket sized). Certificates were issued to confirm the attendees’ knowledge acquired during trainings and vocational courses. In their evaluation questionnaires, policemen, teachers, psychologists and doctors pointed out that the new knowledge significantly improved their judgement and approach to the issue of violence and helped them better diagnose home violence.

The Samegrelo shelter, launched under this project, meets the requirements by the state institutions. It has been fully equipped and is ready to operate for a long time after project completion.