The Ministry of Internal Affairs held an online presentation of a report on sexual harassment in public places. The event is held in dedication of the annual 16- Day Global Campaign on Gender-Based Violence Against Women.
The meeting was opened by the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Nino Tsatsiashvili, who emphasized in her welcoming speech that effective response to sexual harassment is a priority issue for the Ministry. The Deputy Minister also stressed the need to raise public awareness and provision of society with relevant information in order to timely detect or prevent incidents of sexual harassment.
From May 10, 2019, after the article on sexual harassment came into force under the Code of Administrative Offenses of Georgia, 43 cases of sexual harassment in public places were revealed till September 30, 2020 by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and submitted to the court for further consideration. In 2019, 19 cases of sexual harassment were identified, while in January-September 2020, 24 additional cases have been exposed.
According to the existing practice, sexual harassment occurs mainly in the streets and public transport, which is mostly manifested in sexual behavior of various physical forms. Practice analysis also shows that most cases of sexual harassment occur during the day.
The age of victims of sexual harassment ranges from 16 to 45 years, while the age of offenders – varies from 17 to 55. Victims of the offense are both women and men, however, in most cases, sexual harassment is committed against women and young girls.
It should also be noted that persons identified as offenders in cases of sexual harassment in public places, fine is applied in majority of cases by the court as the form of an administrative penalty.
In order to prevent sexual harassment or to make effective response to the facts, a number of activities have been implemented by the Ministry of Internal Affairs since the enactment of the article mentioned above, including guidelines for police officers and sample interview protocols, providing complete and comprehensive information on sexual harassment.
On the issue of sexual harassment, community police officers, patrol inspectors and investigators are being actively trained. As of today, more than 300 law enforcement officers have already undergone the relevant training course, which is currently held online considering the global pandemic.
Lack of information and awareness among the population still remains a major challenge. The Ministry of Internal Affairs will continue to work in coordination with relevant agencies for addressing the existing challenges, to make timely response on the cases of sexual harassment as well as to plan and implement preventive measures in this regard.
The report was presented online in the attendance of the representatives of governmental agencies and local NGOs.