Zykov: Impossible to solve the problem of child neglect and addiction without a juvenile justice sys

The Duma committee that deals with families, women and children has held a parliamentary hearing on ‘legislation to incorporate appropriate methods of dealing with juveniles in the procedure of the courts of general jurisdiction and of commissions for the affairs and welfare of minors’.


The committee chair, Yelena Muzulinoi, said that the aim of the hearing was to assess the situation with regard to preventing child neglect and the violation of minors’ rights, and what steps were needed to strengthen the judicial system in relation to minors. Juvenile justice models had been tried out in the course of experimentation in courts of general jurisdiction in thirty administrative units of the Federation. A process was under way for giving justice a human face so far as juvenile offenders were concerned. Courts of general jurisdiction had started to employ approaches described in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (training, helping social integration). The experience of the experiments at regional level had created the basis for organising an effective juvenile justice system.


In the course of the hearing it was noted that Russian judges had started to devote greater attention to the incorporation of methods for dealing with juveniles into the work of the courts of general jurisdiction. Thus at the second national conference on juvenile justice in Russia held 9/10 June 2009 in the public chamber, the Association of Judges for the Affairs of Minors and Family Problems, was set up. On 6 August 2009, the Presidium of Judges of the Russian Federation set up a working party concerned with the creation and development of juvenile justice within the framework of the general justice system.


‘It is apparent that the main lobby for setting up a system of juvenile justice is the judicial community itself’, Oleg Zykov, member of the public chamber and president of the charity ‘No to Alcoholism and Drug Abuse’, told the ASI correspondent. He saw the developments as described above as an indication that the juvenile justice project was advancing constructively and methodically, However, opponents of the project had made their views heard at hearings to the effect that the system would destroy family life. ‘Obviously these objections are the result either of ignorance or of a clearly unenlightened attitude. In my view, these people take an especially immoral position which can only mean that we own our children’, said Mr Zykov. He does not think that such a position could lead to a reduction in the number of incidents of violence against children, underage drinking and crime etc. ‘These phenomena do not just arise of their own accord but are symptomatic of family distress. And when people say “ Come on, deal with neglect, drug abuse and paedophilia but don’t set up a juvenile justice system with safeguards for children’s rights”, they demonstrate their lack of understanding, since such a system is the only way to resolve the problems’, emphasised the expert.






Moscow 13 November


VAT exemption will allow charities to improve the quality of the aid that they provide to socially vulnerable Russians


There is no clear system of tax allowances for different categories of charities from individuals to international corporations.


Proposals made by the president in his annual message to the federal assembly might go some way towards correcting the situation that has arisen. The chief executive of Perspectiva, the regional organisation for people with disabilities, Maxim Larionov, remarked that the president’s proposal to exempt material aid given to people with disabilities and, parentless children would be altogether timely. At present recipients of aid worth over 4,000 roubles have to pay income tax. Mr Larionov said it was not possible to provide significant aid for such a small sum. The tax exemption would make it possible to increase the amount of aid provided to those in need.


He spoke similarly of the proposal to exempt from tax NGOs looking after the sick, people with disabilities, the very old, orphans or providing social services to orphans or children lacking parental supervision. He said that currently only governmental bodies providing such services were exempt from tax. An extension to communal bodies would enable them to expand the scope and improve the quality of their work. The expert thinks that expansion in relation to the social rehabilitation of orphans and children lacking parental supervision, the provision of legal help, support for the scientific and technical creativity of children and young people, and charity and volunteering is relevant to today’s needs. ‘In particular this would facilitate such activities as the provision of free legal services to people with disabilities and others in need by professional legal organisations.’ He also mentioned a proposition that the term ‘donation’ which is recognised in the civil code be extended to include work done or services provided without charge. This would open the way to ‘significantly greater understanding of the general utility of NGOs’ work’.


The lawyer’s only reservation related to Mr Medvedev’s announcement about setting up ‘an institute of socially oriented organisations’ since in his opinion practically any NGO could fall within that definition.

Get involved

Share This