08TBILISI1123, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ISSUES GETTING ATTENTION IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1123 2008-06-27 14:00 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5069
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1123/01 1791400
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271400Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9691
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001123 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ISSUES GETTING ATTENTION IN 
GEORGIA 
 
REF: 2006 TBILISI 01910 
 
 1.  (U)  Summary and Comment:  On June 9, 2006, President 
Saakashvili signed Georgia's first legislation on domestic 
violence.  Although the law institutionalized a system 
designed to shield victims from their abusers, other 
provisions in the Domestic Violence Law Action Plan have 
languished due to the lack of funding. Zurab Adeishvili, 
former Prosecutor General and current Chief of the 
President's Administration, recently asked ministry 
representatives to create an anti-domestic violence 
coordination council by June 27.  GoG plans to amend the 
charter of the Anti-Trafficking Fund (A-TIP) to include 
domestic violence work as part of its mandate.  The creation 
of the anti-domestic violence coordination council is a 
significant step for Georgia, which has a very traditional 
society where people keep such personal matters within the 
strict confines of the family.  Progress will be slow, but 
U.S. assistance can go far to promote awareness and make 
services available for victims.  GoG actions to address 
domestic violence victims should be lauded.  Violence against 
women and lack of referral mechanisms is highlighted in many 
human rights reports, including Georgia's Public Defender's 
Annual report, the United Nations Human Rights Report, 
Amnesty International, and our own 2007 Human Rights Report. 
End Summary and Comment. 
 
----------------------- 
Background on the Issue 
----------------------- 
 
2.  (U)  The law of Combating Domestic Violence, Protection 
of and Support to Its Victims, which came into effect in June 
2006, defines domestic violence as a violation of the 
constitutional rights and liberties of one member of a family 
by another by means of physical, psychological, economic, or 
sexual violence or coercion; however, domestic violence is 
not specifically criminalized.  Perpetrators of domestic 
violence are prosecuted under existing criminal provisions 
against, for example, battery or rape.  The Office of the 
Prosecutor General and the Ministry of the Interior collect 
general law information statistics based on the 
characteristics of the crime as described by the articles of 
the Georgian Criminal Code.  Since domestic violence as such 
is not included in the Criminal Code, it is hard for GoG to 
create, analyze and react upon precise statistics. 
 
3.  (U)  The adoption of a special law was considered an 
important development by local NGOs and international 
organizations but the implementation of the law remains 
problematic.  Georgia still a very traditional country, where 
people try to keep family matters, such as family conflicts 
and violence, internally.  The exception would be those cases 
when domestic violence becomes so obvious that neighbors and 
extended family members get involved.  In order to sustain 
family integrity, most of the victims avoid involving state 
authorities in family matters and continue to live in this 
difficult situation. 
 
4.  (U)  The responsibility of the implementation of the 
Domestic Violence Action Plan spans the authority of the 
following organizations and ministries:  Prosecutor's Office 
(PGO), Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs (MOH), 
Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ministry of Internal Affairs 
(MOIA), Bureau of Statistics, and Parliamentary Legal 
Committee.  Perhaps the most active of these organizations 
has been PGO, MOJ, and MOIA in implementing training for 
their cops, judges and lawyers who  respond and assist 
victims on a daily basis.  Less active has been the Ministry 
of Health, whose responsibility is, according to the plan, to 
provide some of the high dollar costs associated with medical 
and social services, to include shelters and training of 
social workers.  The GoG plans to use the second floor of the 
TIP shelter to start a domestic violence shelter.  Post and 
USAID implementers will work with the A-TIP coordinator to 
address the gaps which still remain in funding shelters, 
training social workers, heightening public awareness, and 
making statistics related to the issue more transparent. 
Appointing a domestic violence coordinator quiets criticism 
from the Public Defender and NGOs that they do not have a 
single point of contact to deal with on these issues.  Devi 
Tabidze, Head of Social Department, MOH, told Poloff and NGO 
representatives at round table in December 2007, that the MOH 
had no budget for anti-domestic violence programs. It appears 
now that anti-domestic violence programs may benefit from new 
social spending by Saakashvili. 
 
---------- 
Shelter Me 
 
TBILISI 00001123  002 OF 003 
 
 
----------- 
 
5.  (SBU)  One of the most problematic issues for NGOS who 
provide victims shelters has been a lack of government 
funding.  Although the Domestic Violence Action Plan for 
2006-2008 envisaged that in the first half of 2006 the 
government would elaborate the conditions and standards for 
establishment of a shelter, to date existi
ng shelters are 
funded exclusively through international donors.  Currently 
there are at least three organizations who offer services: 
the Anti-Violence Network (AVN), Sakheli, and Saphari.  AVN 
and Sakheli operate shelters in Tbilisi, each taking in 25-30 
victims a year, to include children.  (Comment:  Sakheli is 
more oriented to IDPs.)  The third shelter run by Saphari in 
Uraveli (in the Armenian minority region of Akhaltiskhe) sees 
fewer victims a year--less than ten women with children. In 
the regions, there are no established shelters, but many 
informal networks exist to provide shelter to one or two 
victims on an adhoc basis.  All three NGOs are very 
competitive in seeking out grants and point out that they 
have the experience to provide such services in the absence 
of government expertise. 
 
-------------- 
Social Workers 
-------------- 
 
6.  (U)  During a roundtable hosted by Embassy, NGOs and 
representatives discussed the important role of social 
workers that is missing in the referral process for victims. 
Social workers are critical to assisting victims in referring 
them to counseling, psychiatric care, and removing children 
from violent family situations.  The lack of social workers 
is part of a larger problem of the dearth of trained medical 
staff and psychiatric assistance for victims.  The Public 
Defender recommended in his annual report that the government 
dedicate resources to this issue and this was echoed in the 
2007 Human Rights Report.  Now, a domestic violence 
coordinator will be the focal point to coordinate this issue 
across affected ministries. 
 
---------------- 
Public Awareness 
---------------- 
 
7.  (SBU)  According to an NGO funded by the American Bar 
Association (ABA) whose lawyers who provide victims of 
domestic violence free legal counsel, prior to the enactment 
of the 2006 law, victims were not aware of their rights.  The 
Center for Protection of Constitutional Rights (CPCR), an NGO 
which runs a hotline in Tbilisi, Gori and Telavi, told Poloff 
that the nature of the calls to their hotline has changed 
since 2006. In 2007, CPCR received 100 calls (79 female, 21 
male), 30 in Gori (28 female, 2 male), and 20 in Telavi (17 
female, 3 male).  Of the 100 calls in Tbilisi, 21 resulted in 
court cases.  Past calls dealt with labor and family law 
issues, now more calls are about physical abuse and victims 
being denied economic assistance.  In the later case, 
husbands refuse to let their spouses work or give them any 
monetary assistance.  Now that victims benefit from free 
legal counsel, the perception from one lawyer was that 
spouses, especially husbands, were more afraid to beat their 
wives.  They know now that their wives can call the police 
who can issue a restrictive orders at the scene which is 
valid for 24 hours.  A district (city) court can issue a 
protective order for three months if a criminal case has been 
initiated on the grounds of domestic violence and can be 
extended further if there is danger to the victim, family 
member of the person providing the victim with medical, legal 
or psychological assistance.  Public awareness has risen in 
cities, but remains low in the outlying regions.  AVN 
spokesperson Sophiko Sharabidze who works in Ambrolauri 
(Raja) said, "Many do not report these incidents as they 
either think it is normal to be beaten by their husbands, or 
they don't report it for fear of bringing shame on the 
family." A critical piece in solving the problem is lack of 
awareness, and Embassy Tbilisi is focusing its assistance on 
the promotion of public awareness. 
 
8.  (U)  The lack of public awareness can be, in part, tied 
to a dearth of comprehensive statistics on the subject. 
According to the government action plan, the Bureau of 
Statistics was to track incidents of domestic abuse and make 
this information publicly available.  As of March 24, 2008, 
the Bureau of Statistics was waiting for this information to 
be passed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA).  Public 
and private hotline services exist, but none of this 
information is comprehensively gathered and analyzed. 
According to a study done by Georgian Young Lawyers 
 
TBILISI 00001123  003 OF 003 
 
 
Association (GYLA) in 2007, the following number of 
restrictive orders were issued by patrol police in Tbilisi, 
Imereti, and Shida Kartli regions for one quarter spanning 
2006-2007:  236 (Tbilisi); 20 (Imereti); 26 (Shida Kartli) 
If this rate is applied for the year, the number of 
restrictive orders alone in Tbilisi would approximate 570. 
Traditionally, more instances are reported in Tbilisi as the 
populace is more educated and aware of the problem.  A GYLA 
report on the subject compiled in 2006, lists psychological 
violence as the most often problem followed by physical 
violence; sexual violence was rare.  The same report 
indicates from 20 to 50 percent of families suffer from 
domestic violence, with women the usual victim--either at the 
hands of the spouse or mother-in-law.  (Note:  these 
percentages were generated by reviewing cases of restrictive 
orders issued by the following agencies:  Main Department of 
the Tbilisi Patrol Police; Tbilisi City Court; General 
Prosecutor's Office; Kutaisi City Court; Imereti Main 
Department of the Patrol Police; District Prosecutor's Office 
of West Georgia; Shida Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti region 
main departments of the Patrol Police; Gori regional court. 
End Comment.)  Our assistance plans to tackle this by 
instituting a better tracking system for statistical data and 
encouraging more transparency in sharing that data. 
 
------------------------ 
Building on Past Success 
------------------------ 
 
9.  (U)  USAID is working on an assistance plan to tackle the 
issues of public awareness and addressing the above gaps. 
USAID's very successful "No to TIP Program" is the model for 
our domestic violence plan.  Domestic violence and human 
trafficking are very different crimes and social behaviors, 
but despite these differences, there is much commonality in 
the approaches that the government may use to fight against 
both phenomena regarding victim referral, assistance, 
rehabilitation, and social reintegration.  Bearing in mind 
the progressing successes in the fight against human 
trafficking and the adoption of the law against domestic 
violence, USAID can provide valuable assistance.  First, in 
developing and further strengthening mechanisms to prevent 
TIP and domestic violence and secondly by protecting victims 
of both crimes by ensuring availability and usage of 
appropriate and adequate mechanisms to punish offenders.  Our 
specific plans include: 
 
-- Identification of a counterpart at the executive branch of 
GoG who will work DC issues and create a working group to 
discuss and coordinate issues 
 
-- Develop and adopt a state action plan against domestic 
violence which will include a separate line item in the 
budget to provide funding 
 
-- Development of referral mechanisms &
#x000A; 
-- Drafting of legislation to bridge current gaps in the law 
 
-- Creation and approval of minimum standards for development 
of domestic violence victims' shelters and rehabilitation 
projects 
 
-- Raising public awareness 
 
-- Supporting GoG in the development of quarterly and annual 
reporting tools 
 
10.  (U)  The Georgian Government sees its fight against 
domestic violence as a step by step action, which is not only 
oriented on immediate action from its officers, but is also 
oriented on explaining the content of the crime to people and 
helping to change a mindset and mentality.  In order to be 
effective in implementing its long-standing anti- domestic 
violence policies, GoG will need sufficient USG assistance, 
which will be essential in achieving success gradually. 
Drafting legislation to bridge the gaps and tracking 
statistics related to the issue are achievable goals that can 
go far in heightening awareness of the issue. 
TEFFT

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