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European Court Orders Russia To Compensate Domestic Violence Victim

The headquarters of the European Court Of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
The headquarters of the European Court Of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered the Russian state to pay financial compensation to a victim of domestic violence who fled the country after police failed to take action against a former boyfriend who was threatening her.

The court's July 9 ruling said Russian authorities violated the rights of Valeria Volodina under the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" and discrimination.

The European court ruled that Russia must pay Volodina 20,000 euros ($22,440) in compensation and 5,875 euros ($6,590) to cover her court expenses.

Volodina, a former resident of Ulyanovsk in the Volga region, filed her complaint against Russian with the ECHR in June 2017.

In her complaint, she said her former boyfriend severely beat her several times, threatened to kill her, and abducted her.

Volodina also said police in Ulyanovsk ignored numerous formal calls she had made for authorities to investigate how she was being treated by her former boyfriend.

In early 2018, authorities in Ulyanovsk agreed to charge the man with violating Volodina's privacy after he published intimate photographs of her.

But the investigations had never led to trial.

Fearing for her safety, Volodina changed her name and fled Russia.

Russia's state statistics agency says 16 million women were victims of domestic violence in Russia during 2016.

Human rights activists say complaints of abuse by women in Russia have increased since Russian lawmakers in 2017 decriminalized domestic violence.