Kazakhstan Launches New Legislation, Nationwide Initiatives Against Domestic Violence During 16 Days of Activism

ASTANA – Kazakhstan is initiating measures to tighten accountability for domestic violence amidst the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence annual international campaign that begins on Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and continues until Dec. 10, said Askhat Aimagambetov, member of the Mazhilis, a lower house of the Kazakh Parliament, on his Telegram page.

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During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, initiated by activists of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, over one hundred events are expected to occur across Kazakhstan.

The Mazhilis have been developing a dedicated bill since spring, submitting it to the government for approval a month and a half ago. Among the proposed rules is criminal liability for beatings or other acts of violence within family and household relations causing minor harm to women’s health.

The lower house offered to grant the right to take individual preventive measures based on media or online platform reports in cases of threats or facts of domestic violence without waiting for a formal complaint from the victim.

Another proposal is granting the court the authority to prescribe compulsory medical and psychological assistance to address aggressive behavior in persons who have committed offenses within family and domestic relations.

The Mazhilis is advocating for establishing responsibility for the persecution of one person by another within a family-domestic relationship, as well as for sexual harassment.

“The problem cannot be solved only by tightening responsibility; it requires adopting a whole range of measures,” Aimagambetov stressed.

Nevertheless, the existing norms, particularly the one that allows lenient treatment for causing minor harm to health within family and household relations, should definitely be revised, he added.

No one can beat women, children, animals, or anyone, Aimagambetov emphasized, noting that mitigation of punishment if violence occurs in the family is completely unacceptable.

He highlighted that government agencies are working on systemic measures to protect women, as was instructed by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

State Counselor Erlan Karin echoed the President’s address, recalling that “we cannot turn a blind eye to numerous cases of domestic violence.”

Karin mentioned recent resonant crimes that signal the need to enhance efforts to prevent and eradicate domestic violence.

“The citizens’ response to recent events suggests that our society is becoming increasingly hostile to domestic violence,” he said, adding that changes in society, along with measures taken by the state, become an essential factor in ensuring the protection of women and children.

On Nov. 9 in Astana, former Minister of National Economy Kuandyk Bishimbayev was detained on suspicion of murdering his wife, Saltanat Nukenova. It was reported that Bishimbayev beat her to death in a restaurant, and she died before the ambulance arrived. As the investigation continues, Bishimbayev has been arrested in a temporary detention center for two months.

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