The Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence - also known as the Istanbul Convention – has come into force in Georgia today.
Georgia ratified the convention this May.
Georgia has become the 24th country where the convention is now in effect.
The Istanbul Convention defines and criminalises all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, which affects women disproportionately.
Parties to the Convention are obliged to prevent violence and protect victims, including through granting the police powers to remove the perpetrator from his or her home in situations of immediate danger, setting up sufficient number of easily accessible shelters and crisis referral centres, and providing free 24/7 specialised helplines.
To give effect to the Convention, state parties have to introduce a number of new offences where they do not exist.
These may include: psychological and physical violence, sexual violence and rape, stalking, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced abortion and forced sterilisation. In addition, state parties need to ensure that culture, tradition or so-called "honour” are not regarded as a justification for any of the above-listed courses of conduct.
"Not only women and girls suffer from domestic violence, so parties to the convention are encouraged to apply its protective framework to all victims of violence within the family or domestic unit, including men and boys”, the Council of Europe said.
One of the most important provisions of the Convention is the establishment of an independent expert group (GREVIO) responsible for monitoring Convention’s implementation by the parties.