Russia Decriminalizes Domestic Violence



In response to Russian President Vladimir Putin signing into law a measure decriminalizing most instances of domestic battery, Freedom House released the following statement:

“With this law, the government is effectively condoning domestic violence in Russia and promoting the idea that it’s acceptable to ignore victims of wrongdoing,” said Robert Herman, vice president for international programs. “The Duma should repeal this law and instead support programs to help those suffering from family violence.”


On February 7, President Vladimir Putin signed into law a measure decriminalizing domestic violence that does not cause serious bodily harm, and incidents that are the first to occur within a year. The legislation in effect negates article 116 of the criminal code, approved in June 2016. The government maintains that family disputes should not constitute a criminal offense.

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2017, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2016, and receives a democracy score of 6.5, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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