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Strengthening the system of protection of victims of domestic violence in Zugdidi

The Samegrelo (Mingrelia) region has the highest rate of family violence in Georgia. Statistics of the Georgian police and the Ministry of Internal Affairs from the first half of 2015 show that there were 148 reports of family violence in the Samegrelo region during that period. In only 22% of these cases did the police intervene in any way.

In Georgia, public debate is underway along with a campaign against family violence, of which victims are most often women. According to the Ombudsman’s Office, in 2015 alone, 30 women died as a result of homicide committed by spouses. The term “femicide” has even been used for this phenomenon.

Since 2014, local police have been involved in counteracting family violence. Under the campaign “No to Violence” initiated by Minister of Internal Affairs Aleksandre Tchikaidze, the police of Zugdidi have carried out an information campaign for residents to encourage them to cooperate with police in matters concerning domestic violence (fliers were distributed in the campaign). Unfortunately, there was no training for police from the Samegrelo region.

Strengthening the system of protection of victims of domestic violence in Zugdidi

The project envisaged actions to strengthen the system for responding to and counteracting violence in the family. Under the project, police training was carried out by Polish and Georgian trainers on how to respond to information about violence in the family and draw up reports to be used in further proceedings.

The aim of the project was to build public awareness on counteracting and responding to violence by way of a series of radio programmes on domestic violence on the local radio in Zugdidi. The series was broadcast every two weeks for half a year, from June through December.

It was also important to strengthen the system of assistance to victims of family violence. Vocational training sessions (concerning various topics) for victims of family violence enabled them to become economically independent from perpetrators of violence. People who completed the training received support from a vocational adviser who helped them find a job.

The project was a continuation and expansion of earlier actions in the Samegrelo region.

Strengthening the system of protection of victims of domestic violence in Zugdidi

In the Samegrelo region, institutions and organisations were activated to take measures to strengthen the system for counteracting violence and helping victims of violence. A series of training sessions was carried out for the police force in the Samegrelo region. This training was completed by 100 police officers, and an additional 10 participated in one part. The training took place in four localities. Women accounted for 30% of all trainees (in accordance with the procedures of the Georgian police, a two-person male-female team should be sent to a domestic violence intervention).

In addition, information meetings were also held for 12 heads of departments and commanders. The purpose of these meetings was to transfer basic knowledge on domestic violence issues, and above all to highlight the necessity of dealing with cases concerning domestic violence.

Under the project, 49 teachers were trained in diagnosing and responding to domestic violence toward small children (up to 7 and 8 years of age). The training was conducted by Polish and Georgian specialists and was attended by teachers and guardians from kindergartens and nurseries from the entire Samegrelo region. Educational activities were also carried out in schools for children in order to introduce the topic of domestic violence into public discussion, to build public awareness that domestic violence is a crime and to inform children that when they encounter violence at home, they can get help. Upon completion of the training, a guidebook was prepared and issued in 500 copies, for teachers working with small children, as a compendium of knowledge on domestic violence toward children.

Vocational training for victims of violence was completed by 16 women. This training covered various fields such as accounting, hairdressing, tailoring, rehabilitation massage, languages, and computers. About 35% of course graduates found a job, 30% gained an opportunity for supplementary earnings, 20% are still looking for a job or are continuing vocational training, and 15% are not looking for a job (one beneficiary has cancer and is in the course of treatment; another has taken up further education). Informational radio programmes were prepared for two radio stations (Radio Atinati and Radio Era). To strengthen the effects of the project, these radio programmes were placed on the internet on the stations’ websites and on social media, both in the partners’ profiles and on YouTube.