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Majority in Russia See Domestic Violence as Serious Problem

Majority in Russia See Domestic Violence as Serious Problem
by Neli Esipova and Julie Ray

Story Highlights

  • 58% of Russians say domestic violence is a serious problem
  • 65% of women, 50% of men say it is a serious problem
  • 22% of Russians say the government is doing enough to fight it

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law Tuesday that partially decriminalizes certain types of domestic violence, a step that many Russians may see as in the wrong direction. Majorities of Russians continue to view domestic violence as a serious problem in their country (58%) and say that their government is not doing enough to fight it (51%). Only 22% believe that the government is doing enough.

Russians' Views of Domestic Violence
2009 2015
% %
Domestic violence is a serious problem in Russia 70 58
Government not doing enough to fight domestic violence 58 51
Government doing enough to fight domestic violence 13 22
Gallup World Poll

Russian lawmakers say they are giving the public what it wants with the law, which reduces the punishment for first offenses against family members that do not result in serious injury. But as far back as 2009, majorities of Russians have viewed domestic violence as a serious problem in their country and perceived government efforts to stop it as falling short. Although slightly fewer thought this when Gallup last asked the question in 2015, majorities still feel this way.

Domestic violence is endemic in Russia, and government figures show women account for the majority of the country's victims. The country's interior ministry estimates that 36,000 Russian women are beaten by their husbands every day and that 12,000 Russian women die each year from domestic violence -- one woman every 44 minutes. This helps explain why women in Russia (65%) are significantly more likely than men (50%) to think domestic violence is a serious problem.

Women's and men's opinions do not differ by age. This suggests that domestic violence does not get a "pass" from any generation of Russians, despite the rising popularity of the "return to traditional values" that lawmakers say the new law is supposed to reflect. However, women in rural areas of Russia, which tend to be poorer and have higher incidence of alcoholism that is often linked to domestic violence, are more likely to say domestic violence is a problem (71%) than those in big cities or suburbs (60%). Men's opinions do not change regardless of where they live.

Women More Likely Than Men to See Government Efforts as Lacking

Russian women are not only more likely than men to see domestic violence as a problem, but they are also more likely to say the government is not doing enough to combat it. The majority of Russian women (56%) say the government is not doing enough to fight domestic violence, compared with 44% of men.

Majority of Russian Women Say Government Not Doing Enough
Women Men
% %
Government not doing enough to fight domestic violence 56 44
Government doing enough to fight domestic violence 20 24
Don't know/Refused 24 32
Gallup World Poll, 2015

Both numbers are down slightly from 2009 but reflect the reality that Russia remains one of few countries without specific, separate laws regarding domestic violence, and attempts to pass such laws have failed over the past decade. Fewer than one in four men (24%) or women (20%) say the government is doing enough.

Russians Show Little Tolerance of Multiple Offenses

The recent law in question concerns first offenses of family battery, but in 2009, Gallup asked Russians about what should be done in a hypothetical situation in which a man regularly beats his wife and children and the woman reports the violence to the police. The majority of Russians (66%) say the man should be forcibly evicted from the apartment -- and just 5% say that the man should keep living in the home.

A man regularly beats his wife and children. The wife reported the violence to police. Should the man be able to keep living in the same apartment with his family during consideration of the complaint, or should he be forcibly evicted from his home while pending?
Allowed to keep living in same apartment Forcibly evicted Don't know/Refused
% % %
Russian adults 5 66 29
Russian women 4 74 23
Russian men 7 57 35
Gallup World Poll, 2009

This majority includes women and men, but women are much stricter than men: 74% of Russian women say the man should be evicted, compared with 57% of Russian men.

Bottom Line

Critics of the new law see this as a step backward for a country that still hasn't signed or ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence that took effect in August 2014. Russians, who already think their government is not doing enough to fight domestic violence and see it as a serious problem, may also see this law in the same way.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews conducted July 7-Sept. 17, 2015, with a random sample of 2,000 adults, aged 15 and older, in Russia and April 2-June 14, 2009, with 1,025 adults. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±2.8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.

Gallup


Gallup http://news.gallup.com/poll/203798/majority-russia-domestic-violence-serious-problem.aspx
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