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Improving the Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual Violence Cases in Georgia together with the Council of Europe and UN Women

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In collaboration with the Council of Europe and UN Women, as well as the Ministry of Internal Affairs and General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia and international and local experts we’re launching Effectively Investigating, Prosecuting and Adjudicating Sexual Violence Cases: A Manual for Practitioners in Georgia, intended for practical application by law enforcement officials in Georgia.

The law can be a powerful tool in combating sexual violence and exploitation. It can be used to hold perpetrators to account, as well as defining the obligation that governments have to protect women and girls from violence and discrimination. The implementation of these laws is also vitally important; the law must offer women and girls access to justice.

Too often, justice systems around the world fail survivors of sexual violence, revictimizing them and frequently denying them access to justice. Without access to a justice system that is survivor-friendly, accessible, and that prosecutes and punishes perpetrators, women, and girls are denied their fundamental human rights, and sexual violence is enabled to continue with impunity.

Despite the whole raft of measures taken to tackle gender-based violence in Georgia that in recent years have resulted in a dramatic increase in disclosures of violence against women, progress is substantially lagging behind with regard to sexual violence cases. Research indicates over one in four women in Georgia have experienced sexual abuse in some form, and yet in 2018 only eight rapists were convicted.

Equality Now joined forces with the Council of Europe and UN Women to improve the response to sexual violence crimes in Georgia, including through the development of Effectively Investigating, Prosecuting and Adjudicating Sexual Violence Cases: A Manual for Practitioners in Georgia.

The manual is aimed at supporting the timely and effective handling of criminal cases to achieve the best possible outcomes and improving access to justice for victims of sexual violence in a safe and supportive environment.

The manual is a rights-based tool offering techniques and methodologies drawn from international human rights law and best practices for the investigation and prosecution of cases of rape and other acts of sexual violence against women in Georgia. It is a living document, guided by a gender perspective, and has been tailored, with local input, to the Georgian context and to reflect compliance with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

“In Georgia, there had been no effective training tool and guidance for improving access to justice for sexual violence at all levels of criminal proceedings. Therefore, this manual, tailored to the Georgian context, was like a beacon.

“It provides valuable guidance on how to investigate sexual violence in accordance with international human rights standards, victim-centered and gender-based approaches.”

– Iza Kasrelishvili, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia

Equality Now remains committed to working with partners to reform sexual violence laws and procedures to ensure perpetrators are punished and that the legal system is responsive to survivors.

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