The first steps into perpetrator work took place when, as part of the UNICEF initiative “Increasing Public Awareness on Violence and Lobbying of Legislation Related to Violence", the Anti-Violence Network Georgia (AVNG) prepared a package of legislative amendments (including the draft amendment to ten legislative acts of Georgia) in 2009-2010.
The legislation was designed to create a compulsory training course to modify violent attitudes and behaviour of perpetrators, with the goal of preventing future violent behaviour and rehabilitation of perpetrators. The training course was designated for persons convicted of, or conditionally sentenced for committing of acts of domestic violence, and persons under the restrictions of a protective order for committing acts of domestic violence.
According to the draft amendments included in the package the National Probation Agency should ensure development, introduction and implementation of a training course oriented towards changes of violent attitudes and behaviour. The same course should be conducted for perpetrators of domestic violence by the penitentiary facilities.
The Parliament of Georgia adopted the proposed amendments on October 17th of 2014.
With support from UNICEF, AVNG began developing the first behavioural correction programme in Georgia in 2012. The first model intervention was based on the Polish Model (Intervention Programme for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence, Warsaw, 2005) and two groups of probationers convicted of violent crimes participated.
Additionally, the “Parent's School” was established. Training was provided to family members of AVNGs programme participants who employed violent methods of upbringing, creating a negative psycho-emotional state for their children and teenagers.
Thanks to the Stefan Batory Foundation, Polish experts and social workers conducted a training with psychologists from the Georgian National Probation Agency. This training, "Modifying Abusive Behaviour and Attitudes" was conducted to promote the implementation/development of rehabilitation programme.
The same year AVNG became a member of WWP EN, the National Probation Agency, in partnership with UN Women and AVNG, developed a new interventional training-module: "Violent Behaviour Management Rehabilitation Programme" for perpetrators of violent offenses (individual/group work).
In June of 2016, with the support of UN WOMEN, AVNG trained social workers, psychologists and officers of the National Probation Agency for the purpose of ensuring effective implementation of rehabilitation programmes on the topic of domestic violence.
In collaboration with Global Rights for Women, UN Women Georgia, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, AVNG helped develop the Risk Assessment for Domestic Abuse (GRADA) tool. GRADA is meant as support for police officers, who can use the instrument during calls for domestic violence. One of the goals was to make abusive and dangerous men more visible to law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
Also in 2017, the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA) and AVNG began an analysis of cases of persons convicted for domestic violence. The purpose was to assess risk factors leading to violent behaviour including the histories of men sentenced for their violent crime.
Within the framework of the same project and a UN Women project, AVNG began a programme for the correction of violent behaviour. Engaged penitentiary staff and the National Probation Agency, as well as independent experts implemented the programme.
Additionally, UN WOMEN’s Spanish expert Jesus Pérez shared his experience with an intersectoral group, working on designing a programme for the correction of violent behaviour. His recommendations were utilized to develop a programme for the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence, the protection of victims, and creation of safe environments for them.
In 2018, a pilot programme by GYLA, AVNG and UN WOMEN began in Georgian prisons. If successful, “Behaviour Correction Project of the Suppressors” be introduced to prisons throughout Georgia.
With support of the Netherlands, a questionnaire was developed which will support the staff of the prison system to identify women who experienced violence before imprisonment. The programme will help to rehabilitate and empower women from this group. The aim is to support reintegration to society after imprisonment, and to prevent future violence against them. After the pilot in the penitential institution for women, the programmes will be transferred to the Ministry of Justice and play an important role in implementation of the ratified Istanbul Convention by Georgia.
In Tbilisi, AVNG and the Stefan Batory Foundation, conducted a training for psychologists and social workers working with persons with substance abuse issues. Consultants, representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the non-imprisonment charge execution and National Probation Agency, as well as NGOs working on addiction issues, attended the training.
Measures aimed at the correction of violent behaviour remain on our agenda as one of the key issues of domestic violence and violence against women.
AVNG's plans to continue to work with domestic violence perpetrators and the development of a rehabilitation system. If funding allows, in future we would like to extend the programme to all persons who have violent attitudes and behaviour problems.