Law/Criminal

Myths by Georgia and World about Children’s Code and Juvenile Justice

1 August, 2018

On June 28, 2018, an online edition Georgia and World released an article titled “The time is not far off when Euro-liberal zonders will drop in Georgian families to take their children away.” The article touches upon the draft law on children’s code developed by the Parliament’s human rights committee. The author claims that the document is anti-Georgian and it is directed against the state as well as traditional Georgian families in order to use juvenile justice for depriving the parents of an exclusive right to bring up their own children.     

The Georgian Parliament explained that the purpose of the children’s code is to protect the best interests of the children, to promote and strengthen their families. As for juvenile justice, rather than punishment, it prefers resocialization of juvenile offenders and their involvement in rehabilitation programs. Such approach has significantly reduced juvenile delinquency in England, the United States, Canada and Germany.

Fact No. 1. The purpose of the children’s code is to protect the best interests of the children, as well as to promote and strengthen their families.

The draft children’s code is not public. It has been sponsored by the Georgian Parliament’s Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee. The committee explained that the draft is under intensive development with the involvement of relevant state agencies and other stakeholders and its aim is to protect the best interests of the children as well as to promote and strengthen their families.

According to the written explanation provided by the Parliament, specific interested groups are deliberately discrediting the idea of developing the code, trying to disseminate disinformation for this purpose.

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Fact No.2. The purpose of juvenile justice is to replace punishment of juvenile offenders by rehabilitation programs and individual approach. Juvenile justice, in itself, does not imply depriving the parents of their right to bring up children.

Juvenile justice means:

  • Replacement of punishment by education;
  • Conflict resolution through a dialogue between an offender, victim, family and society.
  • Restriction of liberty (imprisonment) – as a last resort.

The purpose of juvenile justice is to reduce juvenile delinquency rather than to encroach upon someone’s rights illegally. The article released by Georgia and World criticizes the practice of juvenile justice in European countries, particularly in Germany, Holland, England and Sweden, saying that such approach has deprived the parents of their exclusive right to bring up children that is absolutely groundless. Juvenile justice has successfully reduced juvenile delinquency in England. In particular, from 2009 to 2017 its rates decreased by 140 000 incidents (see infographics).
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Source: Justitiële Verkenningen, March 2017

The same approach has proved successful in the United States, Canada and Germany. As for Germany, number of crimes halved from 2007 to 2015.
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Source: Statistics Canada

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Source: Justitiële Verkenningen, March  2017

Russian websites periodically disseminate myths about juvenile justice allegedly being the system imposed by the West for destroying the families.

 

Fact No. 3. According to the Law of Georgia on Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection and Support of Victims of Domestic Violence, separation of a minor from an abusive parent is an extreme measure applied once all other less strict measures yield no results. The decision stems from the best interests of a minor.  

Article 14 of the law reads:

Separation of a minor from an abusive parent, other legal representative or other persons factually staying/living with a minor, is an extreme measure, which can be applied once other less strict measures (including conversation and warning) yield no results, or when it is obvious that applying less strict measures will not ensure the protection of a minor’s life and health. A minor’s opinion about his/her new accommodation should be taken into account according to his/her age and level of development. Anyway, a decision should be made in the minor’s best interests.

According to the Russian Interior Ministry, about 600,000 women are facing physical and verbal abuse at home every year. Out of those, 14,000 die from injuries inflicted by husbands or partners.  


 

Prepared by Sopio Gogitadze
Myth Defector Laboratory