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Russian victims of domestic abuse forced to pay perpetrator’s fine

Russian women who are victims of domestic abuse are being forced to pay fines handed down to their abusers, campaigners have said.

Controversial amendments to Russian law decriminalised some forms of domestic violence in February. The changes mean violence against a spouse or children that results in bruising or bleeding but not broken bones is punishable by 15 days in prison or a fine of 30,000 rubles (£380) if they do not happen more than once a year. Previously, these offences carried a maximum jail sentence of two years.

Marina Pisklakova-Parker, head of the Anna Centre, an NGO which provides support to victims of domestic abuse, told the Guardian women were “having to pay the fines of the perpetrator of the abuse, if the man does not pay”.

Pisklakova-Parker said she had worked with a woman in a shelter who had received a court notice “demanding that she pays the fine for her husband’s abuse, because the funds come from a shared bank account”.

She said conditions for women who experienced domestic abuse had become significantly worse since the amendments were passed, and the threat of these fines was further deterring women from seeking help or reporting their abusers to the police.

“Official statistics will demonstrate a decrease in cases next year, but this is not because much has been done,” Pisklakova-Parker said. “Rather, it is because fewer cases are being filed. The amendments have sent a message to women that it is useless to search for help, and to the perpetrators that this is all right to do.”

According to domesticviolence.ru, more than 16 million women a year experience domestic violence in Russia, but only 10% of them go to the police.

The interior ministry estimates that domestic violence kills 14,000 of these women a year, which equates to one death every 40 minutes.

Russian activists are pushing for a bill on domestic violence prevention to reach the State Duma – the lower house of parliament – and a petition supporting the bill has received 258,000 signatures.

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About Delia Innoma

Delia Innoma is a prolific writer, promoter, artist manager with full professional proficiency in English, German and Igbo languages. She studied accounting and computer programming at the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu and Germany respectively. Delia is also a devoted mother of two and she founded the Diamond Celebrities Magazine. Her sense of responsibility and commitment to the Christian faith are essential forces driving her daily activities.

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