“Spanking Mizulina”: what will the decriminalization of domestic violence

Wednesday, January 25, the state Duma will consider in the second reading amendments of deputies and senators in article 116 of the Criminal code. The bill excludes from the article the possibility of a prison sentence (up to two years) for beatings inflicted by close relatives and “causing physical pain, but not entailed consequences.” It provides for an administrative penalty: a fine of 30 thousand rubles., the arrest for 15 days or 120 hours of community service.

After the adoption of the amendment criminal liability will occur only if you have already received an administrative penalty broke in the middle again, or if the beatings brought recorded by physicians injury. Experts say that the punishment for domestic violence can and in other articles, but the police prefer not to bring such cases regardless of existing norms of the criminal code.

“Forgot stupidity”

Decriminalization 116 of the articles of the Duma took up at the last convocation, in the summer of 2016. Resonant law, who translated all of minor beatings of criminal offences into the category of administrative offences was adopted on the initiative of the Supreme court and signed by the President. At the initiative of the Deputy-United Russia party member Pavel Krasheninnikov, the exception was made only for the family of a beating that left a real prison sentences.

The amendment Krasheninnikov “forgot and took for stupidity,” said a source close to the leadership of the state Duma. “The Parliament has already completed its work, all were concerned about the upcoming elections and not properly analyzed the consequences”, — said the interlocutor of the edition. According to him, the amendment raised the indignation of the Supreme court, “and the leadership of the court came to Putin, the United Russia said the law was to change again.”

One of the most active advocates for the decriminalization of household beating last summer became known for his statements in defense of “traditional values” Senator Elena Mizulina. She introduced in July 2016, the first version of the amendments. Later almost identical to the text presented by a group of United Russia, explaining it by the “greater legal clarity” of the new version.

The law decided to “perenosit” due to the fact that the offer and so caused serious resonance in the society, and if supported the project one Mizulina, it would be “a blow to the new Duma, who strongly wants to get rid of the image of the “mad printer” of the laws, explained a senior United Russia. Mizulina, however, remained as one of the authors.

Speaking in support of the bill during its adoption in the first reading, the Senator stressed that “punishment must not contradict the system of family values.” According to her, the decriminalization of beatings “will protect the family from unwarranted invasion” and protect the “traditional family.” And the Deputy from “United Russia” Olga batalina noted in conversation with that “bruises heal”, because there is no need for him to be punished under the criminal code.

Now the intentional infliction of harm to health is punishable by less than “spanking”, which provided for criminal punishment, said the speaker of the state Duma Vyacheslav Volodin. He explained the logic of support by deputies of the law and “protect the family” and the need “to do everything to family was strong to avoid conflicts, but if there was an error, it needs fixing”.

A family affair: how Russia has changed the punishment for domestic violence

“Increased aggression”

Formally, the ability to attract the family despot to criminal liability will continue: decriminalization does not affect articles about causing harm. They can also be used in serious cases of domestic violence, said in a conversation with the lawyer Maxim Krupsky. However, the beatings, he said, “is a specific offence, which corresponds to a situation of domestic violence” and which historically was most often applied in such cases. To punish domestic abuser, for example on the article “Torment” is almost impossible, said the lawyer.

“I think the chance to bring to any liability of a person, systematically applying domestic violence will be lower than before the decriminalization. Preventive power of the composition of the beatings in the UK is much stronger than the preemptive force of norms of the administrative code. To face criminal proceedings no one wants, and an administrative offence in the public consciousness — something small, that does not entail serious consequences. Therefore, decriminalization can untie the hands of the people who have the potential to commit domestic violence,” says the lawyer.

After the adoption of the law more cases of family violence will result in death and injury. About 40% of violent crimes are committed in the family, argued in 2015 member of the Council on human rights under the President Svetlana Aivazova, citing data of the interior Ministry. According to the statistics office, which has , approximately every 11th murder occurs in the family. From January 2015 to September 2016 of the Ministry of interior has registered more than 19 thousand murders; 1.7 thousand cases, the perpetrator and the victim were close relatives. At the hands of family members during this period were killed 539 women and 56 children.

“A sense of impunity leads to increased aggression. The beatings in the family is never an isolated episode, is a series of episodes, and consistently, they become tougher,” — said the Deputy Director of the national center for prevention of violence “Anna” Andrei Sinelnikov.

Example — the murder of a family in Nizhny Novgorod, when in the summer of 2015 a local resident Oleg Belov dealt with his wife and six young children, and then with his mother. “The wife contacted the police, and if the first statement was a criminal case, perhaps all would be alive,” — says Sinelnikov.

Crime without punishment

In fact, most home brawlers and now are not involved neither to criminal, nor to administrative responsibility, say experts interviewed .

From January 2015 to September 2016 police registered 97 thousand crimes in the sphere of family-domestic relations, of which slightly less than one third (30.2 million) make it a beating, it follows from the statistics of the interior Ministry. According to this, every fifth criminal case about a beating — the case against a close relative of the victim.

Statistics do not reflect the real scale of the disaster, convinced the defenders. “Analysis of calls to our helpline shows that about 70% of domestic violence victims do not contact police,” says Andrei Sinelnikov.

Often the police in such cases there is no certainty that a criminal case goes to trial: in conversations with victims, they refer to cases where victims of domestic violence then they took statements, says attorney Mari Davtyan. Assuming this outcome, the police often discourage them to demand the institution of proceedings or refuse to go on calls. In the end, when the violence inevitably repeats itself, the victims do not see the point to go to the police, says Davtyan.

The sentences ends with a “negligible proportion of cases of domestic violence,” says the report of the national Association of women’s NGOs “Consortium of women’s non-governmental organizations”, prepared in 2015. So, until July 2016 provisions of the criminal code that had been most cases of domestic violence, belonged to the category of private prosecution. This means that the case was initiated not by the police, and a justice of the peace; the investigation was conducted by the applicant himself collecting evidence. And the petitioner, not the Prosecutor, represented the prosecution. Private prosecution “in the criminal process of cases of domestic violence, makes the protection of victims is completely ineffective,” — said in the report of the Association.

January 13, responsible for the rights of the child Anna Kuznetsova told about the seizure of the capital’s families living in Zelenograd, eight adopted and two biological children. The capital’s welfare Department then convened an emergency meeting, which had previously stated the facts of the battery. According to Deputy Minister Tatyana Barsukova, kindergarten staff on 10 January discovered the body of one of the children bruised. Then, the guardianship and the police officers witnessed the beatings by the father.

Officials took from a family of ten children, eight of whom, according to Barsukova, was diagnosed with HIV. Kuznetsov noted that “any claims to the mother” the health status of children was not. In response, the parents filed a lawsuit to the Moscow authorities.

In July last year, the state Duma took these standards to the category of private-public prosecution: law enforcement agencies are obliged to initiate and investigate criminal cases on them. But the adoption of the bill on the decriminalization of a beating will return the situation to its original state, Sinelnikov says: “Man needs to submit an application in accordance with legal regulations. If there is something wrong, return it. Typically, this is where it ends”.

“A systemic problem”

The abolition of criminal penalties for the first case, the family of the beating occurs on the background of the difficult situation of the institutes assistance to victims of domestic violence. As pointed out in its report, the organization “Legal initiative”, a few state crisis centres help families and children create to victims of family violence “bureaucratic obstacles”, such as they require various certificates and documents. And NGOs involved in issues of domestic violence, in 2015, received about 0,12% of the amount allocated for the presidential grants — 4,9 mln RUB. in total.

The authorities in the field refer to family violence sometimes with more attention than Federal officials. So, in Penza, Murmansk, and Saratov regions in the local Koopah has an article on “domestic drunkenness”. A regional diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church opened shelters for victims of family violence, according to human rights, is contrary to the official position of the Church.

“Domestic violence is a systemic problem, and to solve it, you need two kinds of measures: legislative and educational. They can only work together, but we really neither one nor the other,” — said Mari Davtyan.

Decriminalization of beatings can be perceived by part of society as the specific signal, feared member of the Council on human rights under the President, the chief researcher of the Institute of sociology Svetlana Aivazova. “It means the transformation of violence into the norm. In any modern state is impossible; the right exists precisely in order to escape from violence” — says the sociologist.