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Beginning And Continuing Efforts

Beginning and Continuing Efforts

By: Nazifa Wazirzada
November 6th, 2019

This past September, Director of International Training Melissa Scaia met with women’s activists, Shamima Ali from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Center and Abby Erikson of the UN Women Pacific office, to discuss how  the region can enhance their work with perpetrators of domestic violence. In the Pacific region of the world, they experience some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world per population rate. This was marked by the recent, tragic death of a UN staff member in Fiji in July 2019.

Melissa then traveled to Georgia to follow, and partnered with Marika Jobava from UN Women Georgia, and the State Fund for the Protection and Assistance of Human Trafficking Victims and EVAW Project Analyst, Tatia Vashakidze.

Melissa Petrangelo Scaia and the state run crisis center and shelter staff in Georgia

Together, they worked to develop a standardized questionnaire for state-run shelters in Georgia, to help define  a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault.

In Georgia, when a woman receives ‘victim status’ they are then able to access other resources from the government. In the past, gaining victim status was only possible through a lengthy process of applying and presenting a case in front of a panel, which could take up to 3 weeks if not more. Our training aimed to improve accessibility to state services for victims and survivors of violence, such as shelters and crisis centers previously very difficult to access. 

“…the work that they did wasn’t just based on their expertise and their experience, but came out of local needs, perceptions, and culture,” said Vashakidze on her impression of Global Rights for Women. 

Thanks to the support of our GRW donors, we can return to places like Georgia to ensure the success and sustainability of our work.  In 2018, Melissa and Tatia implemented a risk assessment tool with the Georgia Ministry of Internal Affairs and the United Nations-titled, the Georgia Risk Assessment for Domestic Abuse (GRADA)- which helped to better anticipate the risk that perpetrators of domestic violence pose for the on-going abuse of women and children and is a nationally accepted and implemented tool in Georgia now. 

As our work begins in one place, it continues in another. We are grateful to our GRW community’s belief in sustainability, directly allowing us to create the true systems change and ongoing partnerships that eliminate widespread violence.

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