Russia’s Slapping Law– President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that decriminalizes some forms of domestic violence.
4 weeks ago it was reported that the bill had passed its first reading in Russia’s Duma. Over 85% of legislators in Russia’s Duma approved the bill.
According to the Russian Parliament, slapping a person should not be enough to earn someone a jail term. They agreed however that subsequent offenses after the first time will warrant tougher sanctions.
While conservatives argue that the idea of domestic violence has been blown out of proportion by the liberals, Human right activists bother that decriminalizing a slap as a form of assault will downplay on all the efforts that have been invested into curbing the rate of violence in homes and the society at large.
The newly signed law in a significant way will affect families- for parents who strike their children and people who strike their spouses.
Olga Batalina said:
“In Russian traditional family culture parent-child relationships are built on the authority of the parents’ power… The laws should support that family tradition.”
Russia is known for upholding family values, thus conservatives feel it is too extreme to jail a family member for what could be sort of disciplinary measure or natural altercation.
It is believed that the government does not want to interfere in domestic matters.
Russia’s slapping law states that for the first time of the offense; and if the slap does not give one an injury or warrant a leave of absence from work, then it will be treated as an administrative crime.
In other words, it will not be taken as serious as when one is injured from battery.
However, the law states they that the offender will be made to pay a fine of up to 30,000 rubles ($500), detention for up to 15 days, or 120 hours of community service. Subsequent offenses will come with heavier sanctions and jail terms.
On the aspect of not inflicting injury, Some critics have argued that the psychological injuries from violence hurt more than the physical injury. They see this as a green light for violent-prone people to continue assaulting others.
“A huge number of women tolerate domestic violence but do not bring it out to the public. The decriminalization will worsen the situation,”– Olga Yurkova, Executive Director of Sisters (Sexual Assault Referral Centre).
According to a regional study, about 600,000 women in Russia face physical and verbal abuse at home; 14,000 die from injuries inflicted by husbands or partners each year, translating to almost 40 deaths a day.
Similarly, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs once said that violence of several forms takes place in one out of four families. It also said two-thirds of homicides were attributable to household or domestic motives.
Human Rights Watch has called on the Russian parliament to review the law and its implications.
“There is a stigma around talking about violence, physical violence at home and women do not feel that they can speak up.”It is a very dangerous for the government to draw a line between ‘just bruises’ or serious physical violence because… the situation in Russia shows, that domestic violence very rarely ends with bruises. It usually almost always goes to the next step.”
On the contrary, slapping in a country like India comes with serious legal sanctions depending on the context of the assault.