Anti-Violence Network of Georgia (AVNG)
Although the Georgian government has made efforts toward promoting gender equality, many women still endure discrimination. When a woman gives birth out of “wedlock,” it is not uncommon for her to become the target of physical and psychological violence; and women are sometimes forced to have abortions to avoid being ostracized by their family and/or members of their community. When women do choose to give birth, there is no social program in the country to assist them with child-raising expenses and the partner has no legal or monetary obligation to the mother or his child. When a draft legislation came up for review in the male-dominated Parliament of Georgia that would require men to submit to a paternity DNA test that would legalize their obligations to their children, the Anti-Violence Network of Georgia (AVNG) – a previous UAF grantee – requested funds to conduct a signature campaign through its regional committees in support of the legislation.
The mission of the AVNG is to support the creation of a non-violent society in Georgia.
Funds were used for a campaign to support a draft legislation to require paternity tests and establish responsibility for sharing childcare expenses. AVNG conducted meetings throughout the country by mobilizing its regional committees, gathered signatures, and created a petition supporting the bill. They then presented it to Majority deputies from ten regions of Georgia to demonstrate public support of the bill. In December 2011, the parliament adopted the draft law which states that when establishing paternity of children born in unregistered relationships, courts must consider the primary proof biological (genetic and DNA) tests or anthropological research of the assumed father. The goal of this law is for parliament to create an adequate legal basis to assist the judiciary in establishing fatherhood.
AVNG is continuing to support implementation of the newly adopted law, which they believe protects the principle of gender equality and determines that responsibility towards the children would be equally shared between both partners.