Russian Federation: Duma Approves Bill Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

The Russian lower house of Parliament (“the Duma”) has voted in favor of a bill that would reclassify first-time domestic violence offenses as administrative, rather than criminal, offenses. Administrative offenses carry milder penalties under Russian law and are generally punished only by a fine.  


Yelena Mizulina, the Russian politician who has championed the change, claims it is necessary in order to treat domestic violence consistently with other forms of assault and battery, which were decriminalized in 2016. Human rights organizations say the bill is “a clear backslide on women’s rights” in a country where it is already difficult for women to find help or protection from domestic abuse.


Compiled from: Sheftalovich, Zoya, Russia moves to decriminalize domestic violence, Politico (January 12, 2017); Solomon, Feliz, Russia’s Parliament Wants to Decriminalize Domestic Assault, Time (January 12, 2017).