Closer Look At Ongoing Reforms And Processes In Eastern Partnership Countries. Georgia: Impact Of Covid-19 On Violence Against Women

07. January 2021

Summary of the findings*

This report provides a brief overview of the situation regarding victims of violence against women and domestic violence caused by Covid-19. Under the Covid-19 pandemic, violence against women has become an increasing problem for Georgia. Even though the Georgian laws contain mechanisms for the prevention, protection and assistance of victims of violence, practical enforcement of these mechanisms is complicated due to the lack of necessary resources or their non-use by victims. During the crisis, the practice of free remote legal and psycho-social services was developed, however, regulations introduced in the country during the pandemic- restrictions on movement and social relations – made women even more dependent on their husbands as the owner of the household. As a result, victims were only able to address the relevant governmental agencies in extreme cases. During the pandemic, the mental health of the women, who were living with their own families and abusers deteriorated, while the mental health of women living in the shelter was not significantly affected by isolation and quarantine.

Data collected by the Anti-Violence Network of Georgia (AVNG) clearly shows an increase in cases of psychological and sexual abuse rather than physical violence during the pandemic. In particular, violence in the form of intimidation, threats, humiliation, ignoring personal needs, forced and unwanted sexual intercourse. The reason why the real scale of violence is not reflected in the state statistics, is the sharp deterioration of the socio-economic situation of the population. One third of the employed population lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the large majority of them being women. This was exacerbated by the fact that the women did not own property and lived in the property of an abuser, which put them at risk of being left left on the street with their children at any time. For example, seven women, who acquired new professional skills while living in the AVNG shelter and found employment, and had successfully started independent lives after leaving it, lost their jobs during the pandemic. As a result, they were forced to return to the abusers, because they were not able to pay the rent or buy food for themselves. At the same time, unlike the majority of the population, women living in shelters were less likely to be affected by secondary pandemic-related stressors, such as food, bills, lack of relationships and family workloads. They had less fear of infection because they did not often have to go out themselves. Hygiene and isolation rules were also well protected in the shelter. They had access to the services if needed and they did not have to solve problems independently. They could constantly count on the support from the shelter employees. Also, they had relationships and communication with each other and as a result, they felt less fear, anxiety and loneliness.

There is an urgent need for international assistance programs targeting prevention and combating violence against women to focus on rapid reaction under the pandemic conditions; particular assistance is needed for women who leave the shelters.

The creation of this report is funded by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Please find the full text on the following link: Impact of Covid19 on Violence Against Women

  *Report is based on case-based findings of ECEAP partner organization AVNG, detailed comprehensive analysis report is available at request.