Russia presents long-awaited domestic violence bill

International

In this photo taken on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, people hold banners against domestic violence as they attend a rally in Moscow’s downtown, Russia. The rally in support of a widely anticipated domestic violence bill gathered several hundred people. Women’s rights activists have organized a whole series of rallies in recent weeks, urging the authorities to take action in tackling domestic violence, rampant in Russia, where 40% of all violent crimes occur in families. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

MOSCOW (AP) — A group of lawmakers in the country’s upper house of parliament, mainly from President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, have presented a long-anticipated bill on preventing domestic abuse.

The draft law, released Friday by the Federation Council, gives domestic violence a legal definition and outlines various prevention measures, such as restraining orders.

It comes two years after Russia decriminalized simple assault of family members, which was followed by cases of spousal and parental abuse.

Domestic violence is rampant in Russia, where 40% of violent crimes occur in families.

Women’s rights advocates have actively campaigned for the bill, while conservative groups protested against it, arguing that interfering with family affairs undermines Russia’s “traditional values.”

The bill is expected to be formally submitted to the parliament by the end of the year.

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