Russian parliament isn’t taking domestic violence seriously
This appeared in Sunday's Washington Post.
Victims of domestic violence are often helpless to fight back, for reasons of fear, shame and feelings of defeat. A civilized society enacts laws to protect such vulnerable people.
The decision by the Russian parliament to change the law in order to decriminalize some forms of domestic violence is wrong-headed and sends a message that brutality in a family is legitimate.
On Friday, the Russian lower house of parliament, the State Duma, approved a bill that decriminalizes domestic battery for first-time offenders. Battery against a family member will be subject to administrative rather than criminal penalty if it does not cause serious medical harm. Violations can be punished with a fine of up to 30,000 rubles or about $500, police custody of up to 15 days or compulsory community service of up to 120 hours. Second-time offenses and those causing serious medical harm would still be criminal violations and punishable by up to two years in prison.