Tbilisi City Court issued the country’s first restraining order to protect a woman from stalking on 4 July; the order is valid for six months.
‘It was a case of stalking, which is unwanted communication with the affected and illegal surveillance that caused a person mental anguish and forced them to change their way of life’, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association said.
This is the first case of it’s kind in Georgia, since a new law came into force on 1 June, as before this there were no laws in Georgia to protect people from being stalked, and police could only intervene in cases of physical violence.
The bill, which was prepared by the Ministry of Justice together with local NGOs, was adopted by Parliament on 4 May. It defines stalking as spying, either personally or with help of a third person; unwanted communication via phone, online, or by other means; and threats which force a person to significantly change their life.
According the latest data from the Interior Ministry, courts approved around 1,000 restraining orders for domestic violence in the first five months of 2017. Around 2,900 were issued in 2016, 2,600 in 2015, 800 in 2014, and 200 in 2013.
According to a 2016 report by the Public Defender’s Office, the number of people reporting domestic violence has increased, making the problems faced by women in Georgia more pronounced.
The 2011 Istanbul Convention against domestic violence obliges signatories to develop legal mechanisms and legal norms to combat domestic violence. Georgia’s Parliament ratified the convention in May, and the amendments to the law were made within this process.