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22 Apr, 2020 15:04

Russian MPs seek to create safe havens for domestic abuse victims during quarantine

Russian MPs seek to create safe havens for domestic abuse victims during quarantine

Self-isolation has led to an alarming growth in domestic violence during quarantine when most people are required to stay at home. As a result, Russian authorities are considering softer measures for victims of abuse.

In a letter obtained by Russian newspaper RBK on Tuesday, three female deputies – Oksana Pushkina, Irina Rodnina, and Olga Sevastyanova – asked Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova to urgently approve measures to protect those affected by domestic violence. They believe that, when a couple is in insolation, the cycle of abuse will be shorter and each episode will be more severe than the last. 

The measures suggested include shelters for victims, obliging the police to respond immediately to any domestic abuse reports, and not prosecuting those who break quarantine by fleeing violence. In March, human rights lawyer Mari Davtyan warned Moscow daily newspaper Izvestia that domestic violence would likely get worse during the self-isolation period.

Also on rt.com Russian experts warn of increase in domestic violence & other crimes during coronavirus quarantine

“This is the first time we are facing a quarantine, but, of course, the situation [with domestic violence […] will worsen,” she said, “A person prone to violence is constantly with a potential victim […], and the victim has no way to escape the company of her tormentor.” 

Unfortunately, it seems like Davtyan’s prediction was correct. According to the deputies’ letter, the number of calls to the All-Russian Helpline for Women increased by 24 percent in March compared with the previous month. Another domestic violence focused charity, the Kitezh Crisis Centre, also reported an increase, while calls to the crisis center in the city of Vologda have tripled.

“Now we urgently need to take the measures that we indicated in the appeal. Burying our heads in the sand will only harm people,” explained Oksana Pushkina, one of the letter’s signatories.

A sharp increase in the level of domestic abuse has not only been reported in Russia but in many other countries across the world too. On April 6, UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres spoke about the issue of violence being committed against women in their own home and urged governments to put their safety first.

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