One in seven women in Georgia experiences domestic violence, new national study findsBack

According to the new National Study on Violence against Women in Georgia released jointly by UN Women and the National Statistics Office with financial support from the EU, one in seven women reported having experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.

The key findings of the study were released by UN Women, the EU and GEOSTAT together with partners from the Government, the development sector and civil society at a presentation of the study’s summary report in Tbilisi on 6 March 2018. The study findings provide data on the prevalence of domestic violence and non-partner physical and sexual violence, as well as the perceptions and awareness of women and men on gender and violence in Georgia. For the first time in Georgia, the study also generated data on the prevalence of sexual harassment and stalking at the national level. This is the first nationwide research initiative on violence against women conducted in Georgia since UNFPA’s 2009 study.

The new study was implemented throughout 2017 and combined quantitative and qualitative research methods. In total, 6,006 women aged 15-64 and 1,601 men aged 15-64 were interviewed across the country. If one combines all forms of violence, the study found that one in every four women has experienced gender-based violence in their lifetime. Among those, some 15,000 women have experienced physical violence from an intimate partner during pregnancy, and 9 per cent of women in Georgia have admitted to being subjected to sexual violence during their childhood, before the age of 18.

The study findings indicate that women and men show a high degree of tolerance and acceptance towards the use of physical violence against women in relationships, and they also share inequitable views on sex and sexual violence. Of those surveyed, almost one quarter of women (22 per cent) and one third of men (31 per cent) believe that wife-beating is justified under certain circumstances. Moreover, almost one quarter of all women (23 per cent) and nearly half of all men (42 per cent) believe that a wife should obey her husband even if she disagrees.

The study indicates some positive trends as well. There has been a significant increase in the percentage of women who have reported to the police an act of violence committed by an intimate partner: 18 per cent in 2017, compared to 1.5 per cent in 2009. Also, the percentage of women who believe that domestic violence is a private matter and that no one should interfere has decreased from 78 per cent in 2009 to 33 per cent in 2017.

“The study findings fill the gap in the nationally representative data on the prevalence of violence against women in Georgia and provide baseline data for the nationalized Sustainable Development Goals indicators,” stated Erika Kvapilova, UN Women Country Representative in Georgia. “The data analysis will further inform policymaking as well as awareness-raising interventions aimed at prevention and effective response to violence against women and girls in Georgia.”

Gogita Todradze, Deputy Director of GEOSTAT, highlighted the importance of the technical assistance provided by UN Women to GEOSTAT in developing national capacity to conduct studies on violence against women in line with the globally established methodologies and standards, stressing that this will “enable GEOSTAT to replicate similar prevalence surveys in the future as prescribed by the obligations undertaken under the Istanbul Convention.”

The National Study on Violence against Women in Georgia was conducted by UN Women in partnership with GEOSTAT under the EU-funded project “Unite to Fight Violence against Women”.