A bill to decriminalise some forms of domestic violence has passed its first reading in Russia’s Duma, sparking anger among women’s rights advocates.
The legislation would define first assaults which cause less serious injuries as administrative – rather than criminal – offences.
MP Yelena Mizulina, who introduced the bill, says people should not be jailed and labelled a criminal “for a slap”.
The proposed legislation concerns both parents’ treatment of their children, and husbands and wives treatment of each other.
It applies to violent actions causing injuries which do not require hospital treatment or cause the victim to require sick leave from work, according to Olga Batalina, one of its authors.
Under the proposal, the first offence would not be considered criminal, and punishment would be limited to a fine or community service, but subsequent incidents could still be considered criminal and carry potential jail terms.
Ms Mizulina, a highly conservative lawmaker, began promoting the bill in July, in the wake of amendments to the criminal code which made beating a family member a criminal offence.
Penalties for offences should not “contradict the system of social values that society holds on to”, the Moscow Times quoted her as saying.
“In Russian traditional family culture parent-child relationships are built on the authority of the parents’ power… The laws should support that family tradition.”
Good for her! And good for Russia! Let’s pray the bill passes its final reading.