Battery of close relatives to be punished as administrative offence
The bill decriminalizing domestic violence in Russia is now law, having been passed by 380 to 3 votes in a third and final reading by the State Duma today. The Communist Party did not take part in the vote.
The law means battery of a relative will now be considered 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.
Andrei Isayev of the United Russia party downplayed the amendment, saying it was not about violence, but about a mere “spank and slap”. “If a single mother gives her son a box on the ear, she becomes a criminal, whereas a stranger will only be punished administratively,” Meduza quoted him as having said.
A Communist Yuri Sinelschikov said “the law will make violence a behavioral norm.”
The bill, authored by MPs from Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and several members of the Federation Council, revokes 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.”