State Duma, adopt the domestic violence law in Russia
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Russia's presidential election will take place on March 18, 2018. We would like to use this opportunity and address our petition to all the presidential candidates.
There are more women than men in Russia, we are the majority. You, the candidates, want to represent the interests of Russian citizens. This means you must take into account the interests of the majority. But you keep silent. Why don't you say anything about the pressing issue of domestic violence?
In the Russian Federation 40% of all grave violent crimes are committed in a family. Most commonly weak and unprotected family members – women, children, disabled and seniors suffer from domestic violence.
Only for 2013 9100 women died from criminal offences, 11300 received grievous bodily harm. Based on the official statistics in 2013 46 thou. of under ages became victims of violent offences. Around 2 thou. died, 3.6 thou. sustained bodily injuries. Half of these crimes were committed at home.
According to the official data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the RF as of December, 2008 212.7 thou. of family troublemakers are registered in police. Number of the registered crimes committed in family has been growing: only for 2002-2006 total number of “family” crimes increased by half. However, one should note that Russia doesn’t have single data collection system for family violence cases; there is no official statistics. Besides, this problem is of latent character.
The world practice in the sphere of fighting family violence proved that special law on domestic violence prevention is more effective that separate articles of criminal, civil and administrative legislation.
Similar laws already for several years have been effective in the territory of many countries of the Western and Eastern Europe, as well as CIS. Experience of Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and also other countries showed that cases of domestic violence reduce from 20 to 40% after adoption of similar laws.
The existing administrative, criminal and criminal procedural legislation is inefficient. Such cases are initiated only on the basis of statement of the injured party to court submitted in the prescribed form according to the procedure of private prosecution. Herewith, neither police, nor prosecutor’s office participates in such cases. The injured party shall investigate this case itself, collect evidence itself and present it to the court, that is almost impossible for victim in the cases of domestic violence. In most cases family violence happens “behind closed doors” and without third person parties. Commonly victim and abuser live together and submission of a statement on violence case and moreover evidence collection is dangerous for the victim. Besides, evidence collection for the injured person is connected with serious procedural difficulties as all evidence shall be received in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code of the RF; that is difficult enough for a person without legal education. Compared to the accused person, attorney for the defence is not provided for free of charge for private prosecutor and not everyone is able to pay for attorney’s assistance. Besides, private prosecution proceedings are closed due to reconciliation of the parties and there is a threat of pressure to the victim from the abuser’s part.
Due to this many injured prefer either not to apply to court at all or after applying they refuse from further fight in connection with long-term case consideration and necessity of continuous participation in it, or in connection with received threats and persecutions from the offenders’ part, or in connection with change of conditions (reconciled, fear of father’s conviction to influence further child’s career etc.). Thus, high latency (concealment) of this kind of crime is observed, when the offender manages to avoid punishment several times. Actually crimes in the family sphere are legalized now.
In the meantime, cases of public prosecution are deprived of such defects, as authorized bodies conduct investigation and accusation in the court is supported by a prosecutor. At the same time in the case of family violence, even if criminal case of public prosecution is initiated, the law doesn’t stipulate any remedy for person affected by offender for the period of preliminary inquiry and court hearing.
It also seems certain that beatings or bodily injury committed by family member or relative are of more danger to public than the same crimes committed by a stranger. As it has been mentioned, the most frequently, the abuser and the person affected live in the same dwelling house, in connection herewith the injured has to be constantly afraid for his/her safety. Besides, crimes committed towards family members endeavor, including, also family relations and lead to more serious consequences (divorce, disputes regarding children, and in tragic cases – orphancy), then the same crimes committed by strangers.
Besides, in order to solve this problem of family violence it is not enough only to change criminal legislation. The existing rules don’t cover suppression, prevention and work with potential offenders and may be applied already after offence or crime commitment. There are no remedies for injured people(protective inscriptions, psychological and legal aid, network of protective shelters, rehabilitation centers etc.). There are no rehabilitation programmes for both victims and criminals. In the meantime, exactly these measures are the most effective to overcome this situation as they are aimed at family violence prophylaxis and prevention.
Hereby we demand:
- From the presidential candidates - to include the law on domestic violence in their election agenda and promise to pass this law if elected;
- From the Government of the RF - to introduce a draft law on domestic violence;
- From the State Duma - to introduce the law for reading and adopt;
- From the Ministry of Internal Affairs - to create a special domestic violence subdivision, to implement mechanism of protective inscription.
This petition will be delivered to:
• The Government of the Russian Federation
• The State Duma of the RF
• The Main Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the RF
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