Russia’s parliament voted 380-3 on Friday to decriminalize domestic violence. According to the bill, in cases where domestic violence does not cause “substantial bodily harm” and does not occur more than once a year it is considered an administrative offense.
The move, which eliminates criminal liability in such cases, makes a violation punishable by a fine of $500. According to the bill, the person, who commits such an act twice, will be criminally prosecuted.
“The proposed legislation is a massive setback to efforts to eradicate domestic violence, domestically and internationally,” said Russian expert Yulia Gorbunova of Human Rights Watch. “Rather than weakening existing laws, Russia should adopt tougher ones to prevent domestic violence, protect victims, and hold abusers to account.”
According to her, official statistics show that around 40 percent of all violent crimes in Russia are committed within the family.
Russia is one of three countries in Europe and Central Asia that do not have laws specifically targeting domestic violence.
Now, the physical assault in the family or outside is punishable by compulsory works (up to 360 hours), correctional labor (up to one year), restriction or imprisonment (up to two years), forced labor (up to two years), or arrest up to six months.