First instances of light bodily harm will only be punished administratively
A bill decriminalizing domestic violence passed a first reading in Russia’s State Duma on January 22. It proposes to reduce battery of a relative to a civil offence (punishable with a penalty or a 15-day detention) instead of a criminal offence in first instances, when the victim suffered no serious bodily harm.
The bill, authored by MPs from Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and several members of the Federation Council, challenges amendments introduced to Russia’s criminal code last June which, while overall decriminalizing assault and battery, singled out domestic violence as a criminally punishable offence.
Senator Yelena Mizulina, a co-author of the new bill, called the older amendments “anti-family”. “The law undermines reconciliation and forgiveness within a family,” she said at the time. “The ability to forgive is part of our national – and, specifically, Christian Orthodox – tradition. In this sense, the “slapping law” is nothing more than an act of hatred leveled against family.”
The authors of the new bill want it fast-tracked through the legislative assembly and adopted by the end of January.