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Ahead of the second reading of a bill to decriminalize some forms of domestic violence in the Russian State Duma, Anna Kirey, Deputy Director for Campaigns for Russia and Eurasia at Amnesty International, said:

“This bill is a sickening attempt to trivialize domestic violence, which has long been viewed as a non-issue by the Russian government. Far too often victims find they cannot rely on the law for protection and their abusers are let off the hook, with only a tiny fraction imprisoned for their actions.

“The authors of this legislation, chillingly dubbed the ‘slapping bill,’ are betraying the victims of domestic violence and effectively giving their abusers a free pass. Claims that this will somehow protect families or preserve traditions are ludicrous – domestic violence destroys lives.

“Recently proposed amendments that would preserve criminal liability in cases of violence against under age children, pregnant women and persons in a state of helplessness do nothing to soften the fundamentally discriminatory nature of this legislation.

“If Russian MPs are really concerned about protecting families, they must halt these plans and instead put together a comprehensive package of measures, in line with the recommendations of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, to address the vast scale of domestic violence in Russia.”