The Democracy Research Institute special statement

The Democracy Research Institute is responding to the tragic death of an 11-year-old child in Terjola and believes that the Government has so far failed to realize its role in the protection of children.

According to media reports, the child’s father was arrested on charges of pushing the child to suicide. In connection with the case, the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued an official statement on August 25: “Given the high public interest, we would like to provide additional information to the public relating to the incident that occurred in the Terjola district. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has not received any message or call relating to domestic violence against the minor. Accordingly, no restraining order has been issued by the police against any member of the family."

The incident was also responded by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, who put the responsibility on the public. However, Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that it is the duty of the state to protect children from all forms of violence and neglect.

The Democracy Research Institute believes that in addition to the lack of a preventive mechanism against child abuse and domestic violence, the problem is that the authorities is obviously trying to avoid responsibility. The Government cannot realize its role in the protection of children and believes that responding to child abuse is the responsibility of the society.

The absence of a special hotline also refers to the weakness of the prevention and response mechanism. There is no 24-hour hotline for the prevention of child abuse. Operation of the 111 hotline created in the context of the pandemic, which is  intended for all child-related cases and only works from 10:00 to 19:00 cannot be considered enough. Information about the launch of the hotline in May has not been properly disseminated, so its availability is low. The 1505 hotline of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia only covers the issues within its responsibility and works from 10:00 to 18:00, while the 112 emergency service has a number of additional functions in addition to responding to the cases of violence. Consequently, none of the above means of communication is oriented to children or is appropriately accessible.

In 2019, the Parliament of Georgia adopted the Code of the Rights of the Child, Article 99 of which defines the obligation of the Government of Georgia to develop and submit to the Parliament of Georgia a strategy and action plan for the prevention of and effective response to violence against children. According to the information available to the Democracy Research Institute, no work has yet been launched for the above. The high number of cases of violence against children prove that the adoption of the Code has so far failed to increase the child protection level.

Accordingly, the Democracy Research Institute calls on:

The Ministry of Internal Affairs

  • To examine timely, effectively and objectively whether the police were informed of the cases of violence against the If it turns out that the police were informed, the measures provided by law should be applied against the responsible persons.

The Government of Georgia

  • To ensure the availability of a 24-hour child-oriented hotline and disseminate information about it as much as possible in order to prevent child abuse.

The Parliament of Georgia

  • To review the response mechanism of the law enforcement agencies in relation to the cases of child abuse.