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One in five homicides and one in three rapes in Russia occur within the family – IStories

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Important Stories (IStories) have examined the official statistics of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office, which has been officially released since 2021, and found out that one in five homicides and one in three rapes in the country occur within the family.

According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, over the last two years, over 4,500 cases of murder or manslaughter and around 6,000 cases of rape have occurred within families. By November 2022, the share of homicides in which the victim and the perpetrator were relatives or ex-partners had reached 21% and the share of such sexual assaults had reached 28%. These shares are approximately twice as high as in any other type of crime. In 55% of cases, the victims of homicide committed within the family were women – killed by their relatives, partners, or ex-partners.

Vladimir Kudryavtsev, a criminology expert from the University of Florida, explained to IStories that the Prosecutor General's Office data could be distorted because of the reporting format. The Prosecutor General’s Office treats attempted murder as a form of homicide.

“If you take homicide, the criterion is clear: when there is a body, it is a homicide case. If you take attempted murder, the specifics of this crime are vague. Someone may have threatened their partner with a knife. Someone may have shouted ‘I’ll kill you!’ The interpretation is prone to manipulations on the part of both law enforcement and victims,” he argues.

According to the Prosecutor General's Office data, 92% of survivors of rape committed within the family were female. As psychotherapist Ksenia Ivanova, co-founder of the NeTerpi counseling center, points out, the true figures could be way higher because most such cases are never reported to law enforcement authorities.

Criminologist Vladimir Kudryavtsev also remarks that the Russian police traditionally encourage home abuse victims to drop the charges.

Experts believe that Russia's war against Ukraine will drive up the number of crimes within the family, considering that the war is increasing aggression in society.

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