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Regulations against domestic violence are being toughened

Parliament of Georgia is holding the first hearing of the package of draft laws which envisage toughening regulations against
domestic violence, including mandatory issuance of restraining orders.

Draft law, initiator

Legislative initiative: On amending the Law of Georgia on Prevention of Violence Against Women and/or Domestic Violence,
Protection and Support to Victims and associated laws
Initiator: Government of Georgia
Author: Ministry of Justice

Main points of the draft law

• In the event an investigation of a violent abuse is launched or is under way, the issuance of the restraining order by an
authorised police officer becomes mandatory;

• Restriction of the rights related to a weapon will be established as an additional measure of punishment for domestic violence
and family abuse crimes (of violent nature);

• If proceedings are instituted against a person on the charges of violence against women and/or domestic violence or family
abuse, the court will consider it a priority to impose an obligation of stripping this person of his/her weapon and/or prohibiting
him/her from entering a specific place and approaching the victim.

According to the explanatory note attached to the draft law, the rate of complaints on the part of the victims of domestic violence
has increased significantly in the recent period, which has reflected on the rate of criminal proceedings instituted against the
perpetrators of these crimes.

According to the initiator, this law needs to be passed in order to further enhance the fight against domestic violence/family
abuse, especially when such crimes are committed using weapons. In order to better protect the victims of domestic violence
and family abuse, the scope of authority of police officers needs to be increased, defining the specific instances when they are
given a right by the law to issue a restraining order and, by making a corresponding entry in that restraining order, restrict the
use of a weapon.

Current regulations Proposed amendments

1. Police officers are authorized to issue restraining orders. 1. In the event an investigation of a violent abuse is launched
This power is discretionary and, correspondingly, a police or is under way, the issuance by an authorised police officer
officer is not obliged to issue a restraining order in order to of a restraining order as a temporary measure to protect
ensure a prompt response. the victim and to restrict certain actions on the part of the
perpetrator will be mandatory.
2. According to the current law, it is not mandatory to make an
entry on the restrictions concerning a weapon in a restraining
order. 2. The Criminal Code of Georgia will be amended so that the
restriction of rights related to a weapon will be established as
an additional measure of punishment for domestic violence
and family abuse (of violent nature) crimes.

• According to the draft law, the restriction of the rights


related to a weapon means the restriction of the right and/
or prohibition of making, purchasing, keeping, carrying and/
or using weapons that are in personal ownership and/or
in possession (including service weapons). It is important
that, according to the draft law, for imposing the restriction
of the rights related to weapons as an additional measure
of punishment, it is not necessary for the weapon to be
an object of crime or intended to be used in committing
a crime.

• If proceedings are instituted against a person on the


charges of violence against women and/or domestic
violence or family abuse crimes, the court, regardless of
other pre-trial restrictions or imposing other obligations, will
consider it a priority to impose an obligation of stripping
this person of his/her weapon and/or prohibiting him/her
from entering a specific place and approaching the victim.

Assessment/recommendation

Transparency International Georgia welcomes the proposal by the Government of Georgia of the package of legislative
amendments aimed at preventing and effectively combating violence against women and domestic violence.

The statistics of domestic violence and restraining orders we have obtained clearly demonstrate that an increasing number
of the victims of domestic violence appeal to the police every year, which indicates that the public is gradually realizing that
domestic violence is not just a personal problem but a violation of a human right.

Number of criminal proceedings instituted in


connection with domestic violence cases
2014 550
2015 1066
2016 1356
2017 1986

Number of restraining orders issued in


connection with domestic violence cases
2014 846
2015 2722
2016 3089
2017 4370
In order to legislatively protect the rights of victims, it is important for the rate of complaints by victims of domestic violence
to the law enforcement bodies to increase and for the government to actively continue a nation-wide social campaign on the
issue of violence against women and domestic violence.

This blog was prepared within the framework of the project “Enhancing Transparency and Accountability of the Parlia-
ment” financed by the Good Governance Initiative in Georgia (GGI) program of the United States Agency for Interna-
tional Development (USAID). The opinions expressed in the blog are those of Transparency International Georgia and
do not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID or the Government of the United States of America.