Russia: One woman an hour being killed through domestic violence - new report calls for action

With one woman every hour thought to be killed through domestic violence in Russia (1), Amnesty International is calling for urgent action to combat the crisis as it published a new report on domestic violence in the country.

The report, Nowhere to turn to: violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the family, launched today at a press conference in Moscow, condemns the poor response of the Russian authorities - from the police through to prosecutors and courts - and calls on Russia to do more to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, including by criminalising all forms of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the family.

Amnesty International’s report features accounts of abuse by Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights such as a schoolteacher repeatedly beaten by her amateur boxer husband, a woman thrown out of her a third-floor flat by her partner and a lawyer whose husband would deliberately beat her on parts of the body not usually visible in public.

At the report launch in Moscow, Russian pop star Valeria added her voice to Amnesty International’s in the form of a video message in which she recounted the years of domestic violence she had suffered in her marriage to her former producer.

The stigma surrounding domestic violence in Russia means that it is rare for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights to speak publicly on the issue in the country. (2)

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“The scale of domestic violence in Russia is truly terrifying and the Russian government is not only failing to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from this fatal onslaught, it is essentially looking the other way as the Russian police and courts fail and fail again.

“The Russian authorities must start protecting Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Russia, including by criminalising all forms of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the family, reforming police and judicial practice and supporting NGOs and those providing shelters and helplines.�

Police inaction in the face of severe domestic violence is a serious problem identified in the report.

Amnesty International’s research includes the case of a woman who suffered attacks by her partner while she and neighbours called the police 16 times in one night, with the police failing to arrive even once.

A chronic lack of provision for those in need of protection is also pinpointed, with Moscow for instance failing to provide even one shelter for victims of domestic violence despite being a city of some 10 million people.

The report also criticises the Russian authorities for frequently viewing the misuse of alcohol as a unique explanation for the gender abuse rather than other reasons like systematic sexism or widespread violence in a society where a large proportion of men have served in the armed forces, including in Chechnya.

Amongst its recommendations Amnesty International is calling on the Russian authorities to:

  • ensure the systematic collection of male-female crime statistics, including records of domestic violence incidents
  • provide for the training of police officers, lawyers, doctors, nurses and forensic scientists
  • guarantee provision of shelters and other protection for domestic violence victims
  • mount a campaign to greatly raise awareness of the incidence of domestic violence and measures to combat it

Amnesty International’s report is part of its international Stop Violence Against Woman campaign, one of a series of reports and actions that have included a survey into public attitudes to rape in the UK and a call for international governmental support for the new European convention to protect the victims of trafficking.

Notes

  • (1) An average figure based on 9,000 deaths in 2003: figures from the Moscow Helsinki Group, Human Rights in Russian Regions 2004 (Moscow, 2005).

    There are few reliable statistics available and the scale of the problem could be even higher: the Russian government states that some 14,000 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights a year were dying at the hands of their partner or family member in the late 1990s.

  • (2) All the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights interviewed as part of the Amnesty International report did so on condition that their names were changed for publication.

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