Campaigners say sharp deterioration is due to new statute deterring women from contacting police

Russian women suffering family violence are being deterred from going to the police since its partial decriminalisation last year, campaigners have claimed after a dramatic fall in reported incidents.

The state statistics, released in July, reveal that the number of cases of domestic violence reported to the police in 2017 almost halved since physical abuse became punishable by a fine rather than time in prison.

Controversial amendments to Russian law decriminalised some forms of domestic violence in February 2017. The alters mean violence against a spouse or children that results in bruising or bleeding but not violated bones is punishable by 15 days in prison or a fine of 30, 000 roubles( PS380) if they do not happen more than once a year. Previously, these offences carried a maximum jail sentence of two years.

A total 36,037 domestic violence examples were presented in 2017, compared with 65,543 in 2016, with 25,667 of the 2017 cases involving violence against women, compared with 49,765 cases the year before.

Marina Pisklakova-Parker, head of the Anna Centre, an NGO that provides support to victims of domestic abuse, said the statistics showed females were less inclined to report cases to the police, rather than that decriminalisation had sharply reduced the incidences of domestic violence.

She said the national helpline to the Anna Centres in Russia had registered an increasing number of calls from about 20,000 in 2016 to almost 27,000 in 2017.

” The combining on the part of states and helpline statistics is demonstrating that domestic violence has not decreased in Russia, but instead the opposite ,” she said . ” State statistics reflect only criminal cases where the nation could answer according to the existing system of legislation … The amendment offers domestic abusers this easy out, and so the decriminalisation has proven to be very dangerous to the safety of thousands of Russian females suffering from men's domestic violence.

” This decision sends a message that the country doesn't consider familial battery as a criminal offence and a violation of women's human rights. The decriminalisation is a signal that domestic abuse is not a serious issue, and unavoidably it dedicates perpetrators a greater sense of impunity .”

Anna Rivina, who founded Nasiliu.net, said:” The state love numbers. When discussing decriminalisation they can now use these statistics to say that girls are not asking for help, and therefore that the levels of domestic violence must be lower.

” However, this is not the case. Instead, statistics are lower because women are even less inclined to ask for help than they were before .”

In December last year it was revealed that Russian women who are victims of domestic abuse are often forced to pay the penalties handed down to their abusers.

According to domesticviolence.ru, more than 16 million females a year are estimated to experience domestic violence in Russia, but merely 10% of them go to the police.

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