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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 16:00 GMT
Amnesty urges Russia to end abuse
Domestic violence
The scale of domestic violence may be higher than thought
Rights watchdog Amnesty International has called for urgent action to combat domestic violence in Russia.

One woman is believed to be killed every hour in the country, according to a report published on Wednesday.

It criticises the Russian authorities, from police to prosecutors, and calls for all forms of violence against women to be criminalised.

A personal account of domestic violence was given by Russian pop star Valeria at the report's launch in Moscow.

In a video message, she spoke of how she had suffered in her marriage to her former producer.

Amnesty says the stigma surrounding domestic violence in Russia means that it is rare for women to speak publicly on the issue in the country.

'Terrifying' scale

Figures from the Moscow Helsinki Group said there were 9,000 deaths in 2003, but Amnesty says there are few reliable statistics available and the scale of the problem could be even higher.

Valeria
Pop star Valeria spoke about her own experiences of domestic abuse

The report features accounts of abuse by women 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.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said the scale of domestic violence in Russia was "truly terrifying".

"The Russian government is not only failing to protect women from this fatal onslaught, it is essentially looking the other way as the Russian police and courts fail and fail again," she said.

She urged the authorities to protect women by criminalising all forms of violence against women in the family, reforming police and judicial practice and supporting NGOs and those providing shelters and helplines.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Russian pop star Valeria on her experience of domestic violence



SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Russia
23 Jun 04 |  Country profiles


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