Russia Passes the Bill Decriminalize Some Forms of Domestic Violence

by Amna El Tawil
The Russian Parliament passed the second reading of a controversial bill to decriminalize some forms of domestic violence. The State Duma voted 385-2-1 to eliminate criminal liability for battery on family members that doesn’t cause bodily harm. The bill that makes battery on a family member punishable by a fine or a 15-day day arrest has yet to be approved in the third reading. From the Duma, it would proceed to the upper house, largely a rubber-stamp body, and then to President Vladimir Putin’s desk.
The bill is based on a Supreme Court ruling to decriminalize battery that doesn’t inflict bodily harm but to retain criminal charges for those accused of battery against family members. Conservative activists objected, arguing it was a threat to parents who might spank their children.
The petition against the ruling has more than 225,000 signatures.

(Photo credit: Screenshot/ petition)
Olga Batalina, one of the bill’s co-authors, rejected allegations that the bill would sow impunity for those who beat up their families. She said: “The Criminal Code still carries criminal responsibility for battery, but now it will be applicable only for repeat offenders. All those who terrorize their family members, who do it repeatedly … will face criminal responsibility.”