The Coalition Responds to Sexual Violence against Children with Limited Abilities and  Service challenges in the Country

Coalition for Children and Youth expresses concern in regard to the alleged case of sexual violence against 13-year child with limited abilities and difficulties in the process of provision of the required services to her, which became known from the footage of TV Company Imedi on February 7. The above-mentioned case once again disclosed the systemic problems, which exist in the country in the system of child care and protection.

The Coalition gives extremely negative assessment to the situation in the country in the sphere of protection of children against sexual violence, which is expressed in absence of preventive and rehabilitation services; also, indicates to the shortcomings, existing in the process of investigation, which, mostly, are related to the problems of psychological and psychiatric expertise.

The Coalition also expresses concern in regard to the position of the Ministry for IDPs from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labor, Health and Social Affairs, which implies irrelevant connection of the day centers for children with limited abilities with the issues of sexual violence. The above-mention connection was also made in the footage of February 7, when the representative of the Ministry expressed unjustified charges towards the Center “Anika”.

It is important for the ministry to recognize, that the day center service, tailored to the needs of children with limited abilities does not exist presently. Under the conditions of the existing funding, services cannot consider the needs of specific child in objective way and jeopardize the safety of this child and other children. In such circumstances, the only choice for the center is to refuse service for child, which is caused by objective circumstances. In regard to the above-mentioned, litigation with involvement of NGO “Partnership for Human Rights” (PHR) continues in the court for the third year[1].

Psychosocial rehabilitation services for the children with limited abilities- victims of sexual violence is not established in the country either. In the conditions of the existing centers for children with limited abilities, it is impossible to obtain such service.

As a result of efforts of civil society and the Coalition, according to the Order #01-23/o of the Minister of the same Ministry, Working Group was established for the purpose of development of “Day Centers Sub-program”. The organizations-members of the Coalition were actively involved in the working process of the group and repeatedly informed the Ministry (through the protocols of meetings of the Working Group) about the challenges, faced by the day centers for children with limited abilities. Besides, in November 2018, requested meeting with Minister in written, for the purpose of identification of the ways of resolution of the existing challenges. Nevertheless, the Ministry has not made any effective steps towards starting working on the existing issues.

Considering the above-mentioned facts, it is inadmissible to blame specific service in not having some specific service (e.g. personal assistant, psychiatrist, etc.). In regard to the above-mentioned issues, the centers stress the following in the course of communication with the Ministry for years:

  • 15-20 or even 25% growth cannot, in any way, ensure the required level of improvement of services, does not correspond to the real needs and costs, making it impossible for the day centers to provide high-quality service; the above-mentioned increase may be perceived as compensation for inflation only;
  • The existing situation will, most probably, force the day centers, providing high-quality services, to terminate services or make radical change of the format of activities;
  • Services of day centers cannot respond to individual needs of persons/children with limited abilities, their referral from one service to another service;

Consequently, the Coalition for Children and Youth addresses the responsible agencies and demands:

  • To start immediate planning and implementation of measures for elimination of the problems, existing in the process of implementation of day centers’ sub-programs, which will be directed towards satisfaction of individual needs of beneficiaries of sub-program services; in the above-mentioned process, the recommendations, issued by the Working Group, established for the purpose of development of the Day Centers’ Sub-program, shall be taken into account; the organizations- providers of day center services and the organizations, working on children’s rights, shall be involved in the process;
  • Programs for prevention of sexual violence shall be planned and implemented in the country; besides, with involvement of the relevant specialists and organizations, activities shall be started for establishment and further development of rehabilitation service for children- victims of sexual violence.