Response stories

Progress of Georgia in combating violence against women and its protection mechanisms on practice

In recent years, Georgia has made significant progress in combating violence against women and domestic violence, especially in terms of criminal prosecution of such crimes, as well as the improvement of victim protection and assistance mechanisms. In 2017, Georgia ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Suppression of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) and took measures to bring Georgia’s legislation into line with the Convention. Currently, the legislation defines various forms of violence against women and provides important mechanisms for responding to violence.

Despite positive changes, women belonging to vulnerable groups face special barriers in accessing justice for sexual violence. Barriers, in many cases, are caused by inappropriate or discriminatory legal regulation, stigma against vulnerable women, and inadequate preparation of judicial bodies in criminal prosecutions to the specifics of vulnerable groups. Since women representing the mentioned groups face special barriers in terms of using legal means and practice on these issues is extremely rare, and it is impossible to obtain important information about their specific problems. REAct is the only possibility in terms of identifying their problems and needs. Despite the existing problems, in most cases, the police react positively to the violence against sex workers, as evidenced by the cases registered in the REAct system.

Tamta (name changed), sex worker, 33 years old

The beneficiary is a sex worker, 33, who was married and divorced due to abuse, was systematically subjected to psychological and physical abuse by her husband, mainly due to jealousy and an alleged association with sex work. After one of the incidents, she turned to the patrol for help with the children. They were given the status of victims and placed in a shelter.

Lika (name changed), sex worker, 31 years old

The commercial sex worker provided service to the client, but upon arrival demanded to establish an unspecified and unacceptable relationship for her, after which she verbally abused her, then proceeded to physical violence. However, with the help of a friend, the beneficiary managed to contact the police, and the offender was arrested.

According to the current situation in Georgia, the police react immediately and strictly against violence against women, based on the existing legislation, including violations of the rights of women sex workers.

Kakha Kvashilava, REAct National Coordinator: “In our practice, it has never happened that the police refuse to initiate an investigation or do not respond because the victim is a sex worker. The attitude towards violence in the country is as strict as possible, therefore the attitude of the police towards the victim from this key group is the same as in any other case: adequate and within the framework of the powers granted by law. That is why affected sex workers have recently turned to the police more and more often, and their confidence has increased to a certain extent. This is facilitated by the fact that to combat violence against women, national mechanisms and institutions have been created that are developing positively, legal norms are being improved, public awareness is being raised, and the office of the public defender is actively working. The state mechanism against violence exists at a high level of the hierarchy – the government. And criminal, civil, and administrative mechanisms are used to detect and prevent violence against women and/or domestic violence.

Therefore, if necessary, it is enough for the victim to call 112 and report the incident, which will be followed by an immediate response from law enforcement agencies.”

The REAct team hopes that the current situation will improve further and that other vulnerable groups’ rights violations will be dealt with fairly and immediately.

Also read:

Against discrimination and stereotypes of society: how REActors defend the rights of sex workers in Tajikistan

The first judgment for discrimination based on sexual orientation in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Sustainability as a priority: REAct is continuing to function in Georgia in 2023

February, 17, the coordinative meeting of national REActors and partner organizations representatives who are involved in the program was held in Tbilisi. The key point of the meeting became approving the one-year work plan, as well as getting introduced to the changes and challenges for 2023.

This year REAct in Georgia will continue to collect, and monitor cases about human rights violations and create reports based on the date. The national Team is going to initiate implementation of the drug policy advocacy plan and will try to mobilize interested partners and recourses to start the process. As a result, REAct will continue to have legal consultation service in 2023, and under the program will be conducted sensitization training for the Medical staff, based on the needs visualized in the previous reports.

«REAct is a unique system for measuring the situation of human rights in a country, that has no analogs, and the sustainability of its functioning is essential.» – said Mr. Kakha Kvashilava, REAct National Coordinator. «It continues to operate in Georgia until the end of 2023, after a short break, which is very important to note, by the support of National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, under Global fund project”.

REAct team already conducted in February one coordinative meeting, also one training on human rights violations and about the system updated – new field that was just added into the system (regarding the identification of the rights), and one training for new REActors to get accuanted with the online platform, as some organizations, changed their representatives and also for the national organizations that just started the partnership with the tool.

REAct Georgian Team hopes for the continued sustainability of the REAct system in Georgia and to have possibility to implement all the needed activities responding identified needs in country, that were not included in this year’s plan to increase the efficiency of the outcomes and actually change the human rights situation in the country.

Also read:

Uzbekistan hosted a round table on the topic of reducing barriers related to the violation of the rights of key populations

Community-based monitoring in action: how REAct helps to detect human rights violations and solve systemic gaps in the provision of health services