04:03, Friday, 23.03.2018
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Grave outcomes of the domestic violence – traumatized children


Lana Giorgidze

The former husband killed the mother of four children and then disappeared from the site of murder. As the daughter of the killed woman told TV-Company Rustavi 2, M.V had applied to the police several times but there was no adequate reaction from them. “If the police was more sensitive, the murderer would have been in prison long time ago. I personally witnessed how he was beating my pregnant mother. Each time we were calling the police but there was no result.”

Lawyer Eka Kobesashvili of the nongovernmental organization Human Rights Center recalled the tragedy of April 25 and described the situation in the family of the killed woman, when she arrived there to offer legal aid. 

“It is difficult to live under permanent fear that your mother will be killed. The children of the woman are now afraid that the murderer will harass them. The children told me how they lived from one intimidation, quarrel or attempted murder till the second attempts. They did not trust the police because the latter never adequately responded to their calls,” Eka Kobesashvili told humanrights.ge.

Not only women are victims of psychological, physical or other violence during the domestic violence facts but their children also became victims. Different incidents prove the same, when the victimized women talk about the feelings of their children. 

Victim of domestic violence told hridc.tv that since she divorced her harasser husband, her underage daughter gets traumatized each time she goes to the family of the father and coming back she keeps asking the mother why the father wants her mother to die. “Consequently, she does not want to see the father because he usually tells horrible things about the mother.”

By October 31, 2017, 3 137 restraining orders were issued in Georgia according to the statistical data provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the news agency Interpresnews. 

Namely, the official information provided by the MIA states that by October 31, 2 568 restraining orders were issued on the harasser men and 278 orders on the harasser women. 

The state provides shelters for the victims of domestic violence, where the victims can stay for the fixed time with their child/ren.

Humanrights.ge already reported in its article - Shelters for the victims of domestic violence and children beyond the system that besides the support to the victims, there are different problems in the shelters. They are: overcrowdings, insufficient time, lack of children’s psychologist, lost hope for future, ceased social allowance while the women stay in the shelter, escaping the violent environment but only temporarily, and more. 

Although all abovementioned problems require serious approach, the children are the most sensitive part of this problem. The children, in the cases of domestic violence, are left without state attention and they do not get any support, nobody cares about their psychological conditions. 

Children’s psychologist Maya Tsiramua clarified in her interview with humanrights.ge that communication with the psychologist is necessary for the child if she/he stays in the shelter together with the mother. “The children’s psychology has different fields: there are specialists who work on the development gaps and they use different methods; there are specialists who work with the traumatized children and they need different skills. It is necessary that if children are in the shelters for the victims of domestic violence not only children’s psychologist worked with them but psycho-traumatologist of the children too, who has the best knowledge and experience in this direction. When focus is on the mother and the child is left beyond the attention, it demonstrates the attitude towards the child. In normal situation, a psycho-therapist and psychologist shall work with the mother, who will work with her as a victim and will try to empower her; children’s specialist shall work with the child; the mother too shall receive necessary information from the children’s psycho-therapist how to communicate her child/ren.”

Maya Tsiramua added that it is good when specialists work with the victim but it is not enough, because the children require specific approach. 

Children and domestic violence
Children’s psychologist Maya Tsiramua said the child, who witnessed the domestic violence fact, is permanently afraid that his/her mother will be injured.
“When a child is very little, the mother is guarantee for his/her safety. Domestic violence, namely the violence against the mother harms the basic requirements of the child – to feel secure. When the baby is born, she/he first strives for the trust towards the world. It is the most important during his/her first year of life and then starts trusting himself/herself. When a child witnesses the facts of domestic violence, it encourages the child to think: “I am bad, I do not deserve love, I am not supported. If my parent is dangerous, that means people are dangerous.” Often, the children demonstrate their fear in communication with any person. At the same time, the child perceives the outside world as dangerous. You can imagine how peacefully a person can live with similar fears towards the world?!” Maya Tsiramua said.
As the psychologist said the child perceives the world ego-centrically and he/she believes it the same as in his/her perception. “The child usually blames himself in similar facts and what mostly tortures him and what is the characteristic for the child, he believes he is the key actor in this problem. When a parent dies, the child starts thinking – “it happened with my parent because I did not behave well. Often, the violence against the mother is perceived as follows – it happens because I am not good and I behaved badly. It is serious trauma for the child, which might have negative outcome unless we address the problem. The child may permanently remain in the role of a victim, or become the harasser himself/herself because it will become the only way for him/her to treat other people or resolve the problems.”

The state shall envisage the recommendations of the field professionals not to leave the future of the country, the children, without attention. Not only the interests of the victim of domestic violence shall be respected, but the interests of the victim’s child/ren shall be taken into account. 

This article was prepared in the frame of the project “Support to the Prevention of Violence against Women in Georgia, which is implemented by Human Rights Center with financial support of the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi under Democracy Commission Small Grants Program. The contents of this article are those of the Human Rights Center and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of State.

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