Duma approves second reading of law decriminalising domestic violence
The human rights community fears that the decriminalisation of battery might be interpreted by certain sectors of society as a signal that violence is the norm.
The Russian State Duma approved legislation decriminalising battery of close relatives at the second reading. According to the so-called “slap law”, a single instance of battery against a close relative will no longer be a criminal but an administrative offence.
A sense of impunity will lead to increased aggression, Andrei Sinelnikov (Deputy Director of the ANNA Centre for the Prevention of Violence) told RBK. “Battery in the family is never an isolated incident, it is a series of incidents, getting worse and worse each time”, he emphasised.
According to Svetlana Aivazova, a member of the Russian Presidential Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, some will interpret the enactment of this legislation as a signal that violence is normal. “This is not acceptable in any modern government. Such rights exist precisely because we need to move away from violence.”
Human rights organisations earlier called on deputies to revoke the “slap law”. Human Rights Watch stated that this legislation is dangerous and is not in line with Russia’s international human rights obligations. According to data found by the human rights defenders, around 40% of all violent crimes in Russia are committed in the family. Every day 36,000 women and 26,000 children are faced with violence in the family.