A person below the age of 18 (a minor) is considered as a child. A child below the age of 7 is legally incapable, whereas a minor between ages 7 and 18 has limited legal capacity. Therefore, in the issues of protecting the rights and interests of a child, parents or other legal guardians represent a child.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child has the following rights:
Family and parents have the primary responsibility in the upbringing and development of a child. Both parents have equal rights and responsibilities towards children. Parents have the right and duty to bring up their children and ensure their physical, mental, spiritual, and social development.
Parents have the duty to provide for their children. Parents are obliged to protect the rights and interests of their minor children, which includes management and use of the property of children. Parents have the right and duty to have relations with their children and determine the right of third parties to have relations with their children. Parents are legal representatives of their minor children without special authorization, and can protect their rights and interests in relations with third parties, including the court.
A parent who systematically avoids the fulfillment of parental responsibilities and abuses parental rights, e.g. abuses the child, has a negative impact through immoral behavior, suffers from chronic alcoholism or drug addiction, has engaged the child in an antisocial action (including begging or vagrancy), will be deprived of all parental rights and responsibilities. Termination of parental rights and responsibilities is an action of the last resort, which is decided by the Court.
The state is obliged to take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to create the conditions for the implementation of children’s rights.
The states renders appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities. The state shall ensure the protection of the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the state. The state is obliged to ensure the accessibility of education and healthcare to all children, especially, to children with disabilities.
The state shall protect the child from any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or social development, or to lead to his or her exploitation by other persons.
The state shall protect the child from the use of narcotic drugs, sexual exploitation, abduction, sale or traffic for any purpose or in any form to other countries, as well as from torture and degrading treatment.
The “State Program of Social Rehabilitation and Child Care” includes the following subprograms for children who are socially vulnerable, homeless or under the risk of abandonment:
The Government of Georgia approves the “State Program of Social Rehabilitation and Child Care” on an annual basis. For detailed information, refer to the Social Service Agency: tel: 1505, webpage: http://ssa.gov.ge
The “State Program of Social Rehabilitation and Child Care” includes the following subprograms for children with disabilities:
The Government of Georgia approves the “State Program of Social Rehabilitation and Child Care” on an annual basis. For detailed information, refer to the Social Service Agency: Tel: 1505, webpage: http://ssa.gov.ge
Call and inform the Social Service Agency via the hotline 1505, if you see that a child: is left unattended on the street; is begging or trading alone or with an adult; is sleeping on the street during the day or night; is school-age, but can be seen often on the streets during the day.
A child is considered a victim of domestic violence if a family member abuses the constitutional rights and freedoms of the child in such forms as neglect and/or physical, psychological, economic, sexual violence or coercion.
A minor is considered as a victim if his or her legal interests are neglected, specifically, if parents or legal representatives do not satisfy the physical and psychological needs of the child, do not protect the child from harm, limit the right of basic education of the child, do not take necessary actions for birth registration or access to healthcare or other services.
A child who witnesses violence is also considered as a victim.
The state is obliged to protect the child from violence, offense, or neglect of parents or any other guardians.
The Government of Georgia has approved the “Child Protection Referral Procedures” that aim to facilitate protection of children from all forms of domestic or other violence in and beyond families.
Within these procedures, competent entities are authorized to: identify a child who has become a victim of violence; assess the condition of the child; inform relevant authorities if any act of violence against children is suspected; if necessary, to separate the child from the perpetrator of violence and to supervise the case of violence.
In the case of violence against a child, the protection of and assistance to the victim primarily fall under the responsibilities of the police and the Social Service Agency. However, any person or entity that has any contact with the child is obligated to inform the police and/or the Social Service Agency about the fact of violence against the child.
The Police are authorized to: identify and prevent the acts of violence against children; with a social worker, execute the decision to move the child from the family (perpetrator of violence); in cases of emergency, ensure that the child is taken to a medical institution; issue a restraining order and makes the decision to separate the child.
The Social Service Agency is authorized to: assess the condition of a child who has or is likely to become a victim of violence; manage the case of violence; provide consultation; place the child in appropriate service institutions and to supervise his/her condition.
Cases of violence against children may be suspected on the basis of the following factors:
a) signs of injury on the body of a child (bruises, open wounds, scratches, sores, difficulty in walking, swellings, fractures);
b) suspicious behavior of a child (a child is anxious, depressed, frightened, is reluctant to go to school, regularly misses classes, has no desire to study, lacks care, is reluctant to go home, is sexually attractive in a way that is unusual for his/her age, is too much aware about sex in a way that is unusual for his/her age, his/her character has changed extremely, cannot explain the reasons of injuries).
In case of violence against a child, you can notify the following entities:
In 2016, the Juvenile Justice Code has entered into force in Georgia. The Code sets special standards towards minors in conflict with the law, minor victims, and minor witnesses.
The purpose of this Code is to protect the best interests of minors, to re-socialize and rehabilitate minors who are in conflict with the law, and to protect the rights of minor victims and witnesses.
According to the Juvenile Justice Code, detention of minors in conflict with the law is only applied as a measure of last resort. The same applies to the use of arrest. The Code gives priority to the possibility of diversion of a minor or the application of a restorative justice measures.
Juvenile justice procedures may be administered only by the judges, prosecutors, investigators, police officers, lawyers and social workers who are specialized in juvenile justice.
It is obligatory for accused minors or minor victims to have a lawyer. If the accused minor or minor victim cannot afford a lawyer, the state appoints a lawyer of the Legal Aid Service. The rights of accused minors also apply to accused persons between the ages of 18-21.