MOSCOW, November 17 (RAPSI) – Federation Council Member Anton Belyakov has drafted a bill that would toughen penalties for domestic violence offenders, TASS reported on Monday.

The proposed amendments to the Criminal Code would enhance legal protection for domestic violence victims, Belyakov says.

Belyakov said the current legislation lacked mechanisms for responding to spousal abuse and that the term “domestic violence” is limited to extreme forms of violence, whereas in the majority of industrialized countries it also includes economic violence, psychological pressure and emotional abuse.

“Currently, law enforcement agencies only initiate criminal proceedings in the case of murder or serious injuries,” the MP said, adding that in all other cases women have to take their problems to a magistrate where they will have to prove that they were subjected to domestic violence.

Belyakov pointed out that the articles on deliberate damage to health and on battery only stipulate minor fines or mere warnings, whereas family tyrants in Europe, the United States and China can face million-dollar fines or even imprisonment.

The MP said that 14,000 women die from domestic violence in Russia every year.

Citing Interior Ministry data, he said that out of 4 million abusive family members, 205,000 were emotionally unstable, 400,000 were alcoholics, 40,000 were mental cases, but that the overwhelming majority – 3.36 million – were “normal, respected people.”