Russian MPs back easing punishment for domestic abuse

 28 Jan 2017 - 2:41

AFP

Moscow: RUSSIA’S lower house of parliament yesterday passed a controversial bill to soften punishment for domestic violence, arguing the state has no business meddling in family life.
The measure has sparked fierce criticism from activists who argue that victims of abuse, which is a widespread problem in the country, will have even fewer opportunities to defend themselves.
The bill sailed through Russia’s 450-member parliament with 380 legislators backing it, and just three voting against. The bill still needs to be approved by upper chamber and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law.
“We want to show that Russian deputies will not allow same excesses present in Western Europe,” said ruling party lawmaker Andrei Isayev. He claimed European children “inform their parents” in order to get their way, which leads to parents losing custody.
Unusually, MPs from Communist party opposed the bill because they said it encourages violence.
“Women don’t often go to police or courts regarding their abusive husbands, now there will be even fewer such cases, and number of murders will increase,” said lawmaker Yury Sinelshchikov.
Amendments in the bill reduce penalty for violence against family members, spouses and children—as long as it is a first offence and does not cause serious injury.