Kazakh Senate Approves Law to Criminalize Domestic Violence

ASTANA — The Senate, the upper house of the Kazakh Parliament, approved the law on women’s rights and children’s safety at an April 11 session, State Counselor Erlan Karin wrote on his Telegram channel.

Photo credit: nnlegalaid.org

“Key legislative amendments include the criminalization of domestic violence, tougher penalties for all forms of violence against children, and a range of preventive measures to combat domestic violence,” he wrote.

The bill was developed by the Mazhilis, the lower house of the Parliament, in September 2023 after President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s address, in which he instructed to enhance responsibility for domestic violence.

Commissioner for Children’s Rights Dinara Zakiyeva, who presented the bill, shared on her Instagram page that more than 70 amendments were adopted.

“Each amendment can be named after a child or woman who died due to violence,” she wrote.

The law now prohibits the imposition of lighter penalties than those outlined in the Criminal Code’s special section for persons who committed crimes related to violence against minors. Reconciliation between parties in such crimes and in cases of repeated offenses a year after reconciliation is excluded.

Instead of restricting freedom, which does not envisage complete isolation in prison, the law imposes imprisonment for intentionally causing severe or moderate harm to health. It mandates life imprisonment for murdering and raping a minor and committing violent sexual acts against minors.

The legislation introduces liability for sexual harassment of persons under 16 and establishes punishment for inciting or assisting suicide.

It develops a new article setting specific requirements for the behavior of a person convicted of criminal offenses.

The law transfers criminal responsibility for intentional minor bodily harm and battery from the Code of Administrative Offenses to the Criminal Code.

The bill is sent to the President for final approval after Senate has voted to approve it in the first and second readings. It will come into force after signing.

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