Russian police will not fine domestic violence victims who break quarantine rules
The police won’t fine victims of domestic violence who break quarantine and self-isolation rules
This is the Ministry of the Interior’s response to an appeal submitted by nine NGOs that provide help to victims, confirming that police officers will not fine victims of domestic violence who break self-isolation rules to escape their tormentor. A photo of the text has been published by Valentina Frolova, a lawyer working with the Consortium of Women’s NGOs.
“At the end of March, colleagues from nine women’s organisations and I called on the Russian Government to take urgent action to protect victims of domestic violence. In particular, we stressed the need to exempt those affected from any official liability when breaking quarantine regulations”, wrote Frolova.
The Ministry’s response says that “Those who break self-isolation rules in an extreme emergency shall not be held responsible under current Russian legislation”.
In mid-May, the Ministry stated that there had been a fall in the level of domestic violence incidents despite Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Tatyana Moskalkova, saying that the number of such cases had increased two and a half times during the pandemic. The Director of the women’s crisis centre Kitezh told ASI that calls to them reporting incidents of domestic violence had gone up by around 40% during the lockdown.
At the end of April, the Government Commission on Crime Prevention called on governors to set up crisis centres for domestic violence victims by 1 June. The heads of regional departments within the Ministry of the Interior were instructed to initiate criminal proceedings in domestic violence cases under Article 116.1 of the Russian Federation’s Criminal Code (beatings administered by a person to be subject to criminal punishment) even where there is no victim statement.
Earlier, the Speaker of the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, had stated that there had been no real increase in domestic violence during the self-isolating regime and that the Council would return to work on a draft domestic violence Bill once the pandemic was over. Later, several MPs appealed to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Tatyana Golikova, with a request to approve measures aimed at protecting domestic violence victims.