Human rights activists appeal to the government to provide immediate protection from domestic violence

8 April 2020

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group

Russian lawyers and human rights activists who advise victims of domestic violence and represent them in court have appealed to the Russian government to take urgent measures to protect against domestic violence, which has increased during the period of self-isolation. Among the signatories: co-author of the draft law on the prevention of domestic violence Alena Popova; lawyer Marie Davtyan; Valentina Frolova, a lawyer at Zone of Law; lawyer Olga Gnezdilova; and chairman of the board of the ANNA Centre Maria Pisklakova-Parker. Rain reports.

The authors of the appeal note that during a period of quarantine, when people are forced to spend more time at home, the number of cases of domestic violence increases. In Russia there is no special law on protection from domestic violence; and even under normal conditions there are not enough places at refugees for victims, and because of the quarantine many refugees have stopped accepting new arrivals. This means that victims have nowhere to hide from an aggressive partner. In their appeal, they demand immediate measures from the government. The essential points:

  • A sufficient number of shelters must be provided, which can quickly accept victims, even if they are not registered. For this, a register must be compiled of all the premises, including unoccupied hotel rooms, that could be used for temporary accommodation of victims.
  • The authorities must condemn any manifestation of domestic violence. Three main rules must be made clear to police officers: they must respond immediately to any reports of domestic violence, they must defend victims not rapists, and they must prevent any acts of domestic violence.
  • A special plan for victims to apply for medical, legal and psychological help must be developed, and information about their existence must be widely available, for example through the State Service website, or television. 
  • Focal points must be created that will quickly and effectively respond to violence from family members, and assist people to get free medical, legal and psychological help.
  • Victims of domestic violence must be excluded from liability for violation of quarantine or other restrictive measures.

The authors of the appeal gave assurances that they are ready to help the authorities and contribute to the development and implementation of these measures.

Where to apply in cases of domestic violence:

  • The consortium of women’s non-governmental associations: (online legal application form)
  • Zone of Law: +7 (917) 897-60-55 (to request legal assistance via WhatsApp or Telegram)
  • The Centre: +7 (495) 916-30-00,
  • The Sisters Centre. Crisis email address: . Psychological assistance, support and information provision to survivors of sexual violence (rape, sexual assault, any unwanted acts committed without consent and violating sexual integrity or creating the threat of such violation)
  • The ANNA Centre against violence against women: . +8-800-7000-600. An all-Russia helpline for women victims of domestic violence (free to call from landline and mobiles)
  • The Legal Initiative Project: +7 (499) 678-21-37, +7 (981) 713-20-83 (SMS and calls)
  • The Kitezh Women’s Crisis Centre: +7 (916) 920-10-30 (Whatsapp)
  • The mutual assistance network TyNeOdna,
  • The Crisis Centre for Women in St Petersburg

online reception
psychological and legal assistance by phone: +8 (812) 327-30-00,
legal chat on WhatsApp: +8 (921) 303-08-20
pages on all social media:

Translated by Anna Bowles

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