Need to change focus from repressive to rehabilitative — Akhmetzhanov

The Government session chaired by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov considered the prevention of domestic violence. The Minister of Internal Affairs Marat Akhmetzhanov, Minister of Information and Community Development Darkhan Kydyrali and Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population Tamara Duisenova made reports on this topic.

As the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs noted in his report, today the theme of domestic violence is one of the urgent issues in society. This problem is also a subject of close attention of the Head of State.

A number of instructions have been given. These include:

  • increasing penalties for domestic violence against women;
  • strengthening of specialized police units;
  • reviewing approaches to the organisation of work with victims.

As a result of the work carried out, attitudes towards the problem have changed considerably in society.

"Victims of violence have become more active in reporting such incidents. This year alone, the police received 100,000 reports of domestic violence. Most of them come from the cities of Shymkent, Astana, Almaty, as well as the Karaganda, Pavlodar and Kostanay regions. At the same time, the police were unable to take action in 60 per cent of these cases as the victims refused to file a complaint on arrival at the scene. Without such a refusal, according to the law in force, a police officer cannot bring offenders to justice," the Minister of Internal Affairs said during his report.

As a result, 668 domestic crimes were committed this year alone. The ministry responds to every report of domestic violence, the minister explained.

Since the beginning of the year, 35,000 administrative reports have been drawn up against troublemakers.

Of these, by court order:

  • Over 10,000 persons were arrested,
  • 8,500 persons were warned,
  • 675 were fined.

According to the minister, 67,000 protection orders have been issued to ensure the safety of victims. 

"At the request of the police, the courts have established 10,000 special requirements for the behaviour of offenders, all of whom are placed on a preventive register. 7,500 'family tyrants' have been brought to administrative responsibility for violating the restrictions," Marat Akhmetzhanov said.

In accordance with the instructions of the Head of State, the approaches to the organization of work with victims were reviewed. Specialised female investigators have been introduced to investigate such crimes.

"A special role has been assigned to female violence protection inspectors. Their number has been doubled from internal reserves. Such positions have now been introduced in every district police station," the Minister stressed.

To date, the ministry has worked closely with 50 NGOs. Assistance in the social rehabilitation of victims is provided by 57 crisis centres.

Since the beginning of the year, the police have referred more than 7,500 women in difficult life situations to crisis centres. More than 2,000 of them were placed in shelters. However, as M. Akhmetzhanov noted, the number of such centres is insufficient.

"For example, in Shymkent, the police received more than 11,000 reports of domestic violence. However, only one crisis centre operates there. Similarly, the Atyrau and North Kazakhstan oblasts are not doing enough in this direction. The regions of Abay, Almaty and Kyzylorda have no crisis centres at all," the Minister of Internal Affairs reported.

At the same time, the Minister stressed that the local executive bodies should consider the issue of organizing the work of such centres in the regions, as well as increase the state order for these purposes.

At the same time, the Interior Ministry noted that enforcement measures alone will not solve this problem. Police react only to the consequences of domestic violence. They are based on social problems.

Such as:

  • social dislocation;
  • drunkenness, drug addiction;
  • mental illness;
  • isolation and isolation in the family;
  • gambling addiction.
  • marginalisation of a section of society;  
  • a decline in moral and ethical foundations;
  • weakening of the institution of the family and upbringing.

As the head of the department noted, to solve them it is necessary to consolidate the efforts of all interested state bodies, nongovernmental sector and the public.

"There is a need to change the emphasis from repressive orientation to rehabilitation and psycho-corrective work not only with victims of violence, but also with offenders," Marat Akhmetzhanov stressed during the report.

At the same time, the head of the Ministry believes it necessary to instruct the Ministry of Healthcare to develop an algorithm of psycho-corrective courses, to organize the training of appropriate specialists.

"Most crimes are committed in the state of intoxication. However, to date, the issue of isolation of "drunken troublemakers" has not been solved. There are only 35 Temporary Adaptation and Detoxification Centres, commonly called 'meditrezviteliteli', with 778 beds across the country. It's extremely small. In the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk, for example, there is only one such facility with 20 beds. The police took 7,000 offenders to them. Of these, 5,000 were detained. Similarly in Pavlodar there is only one sobering up facility with 24 beds. In Kokchetav there is none at all. In total 32 such facilities for 594 beds are necessary in the country," Marat Akhmetzhanov said during his report.

As noted by the head of the law enforcement agency, there are similar problems with the lack of beds for the compulsory treatment of chronic alcoholics.

According to the Minister, there are 20 specialized drug treatment facilities for compulsory treatment all over the country. However, the procedure for referring citizens to them is extremely bureaucratic.

"Medical workers of narcological institutions are reluctant to make appropriate decisions. As a result, police officers are forced to do this work, often at their own expense. They have to file materials with the courts, undergo medical tests, undergo expert examinations and take the offenders to hospital," Akhmetzhanov said.

Courts have considered 4,000 compulsory treatment cases. Of those, only 72% were hospitalised because of the problems highlighted. Today there is a need for additional 11 such medical facilities for 620 beds.

"And lastly. Now there are 6,800 dysfunctional families with 10,000 children in the country. This is a potential risk area that requires special attention from the state. The law on the protection of children's rights stipulates a norm for local executive bodies to keep medical and social records. However, to date, no regulations have been developed on the maintenance of medical and social registers. In this regard, it is proposed to define the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection as the responsible state body in this field," the Minister of Internal Affairs said.

At the same time, following the instruction of the head of state, measures have been developed to step up the fight against domestic violence.

First, the legislation should replace the declaration character with the detection character of domestic violations.

According to the Head of the Ministry, this will allow the police to initiate administrative proceedings without victims' statements. The final legal assessment will be made by the court.

Second, to tighten requirements for the procedure of reconciliation of the parties.

"Thus, troublemaker will be able to reconcile in court only the first time he committed violence, while in case of repeated violence, this right will be excluded," the Minister said.

Third, to increase penalties for offences in the domestic sphere.

To this end, the Ministry proposes to increase the term of administrative arrest for repeat offenses from 20 to 25 days.

Fourth, the constitutional amendments adopted by referendum made it possible to impose community service on the basis of a court ruling as well.

"We have proposed replacing a warning with community service. This prospect of punishment is sufficient motivation for the offender not to break the law. At present the Ministry of Justice is working on the issue of legislative regulation of community service," Akhmetzhanov said.

Fifth, to introduce to the Criminal Code the qualifying sign in relation to a person who has family and domestic relations on the most common crimes.

On 30 September this year at a meeting of the Interdepartmental Commission on Prevention of Offences under the Government these approaches were considered and approved.

"However, these are only legislative initiatives. I think that only by joint efforts of the authorized bodies, non-governmental organizations and change of attitude of society it is possible to improve the situation in this sphere," Minister of Internal Affairs Marat Akhmetzhanov summarized.

Minister of Information and Social Development Darkhan Kydyrali made a report at the government meeting.

As the head of the Ministry of Information and Social Development said, "The family is our value". In general, the Ministry is working in three directions in this direction.

First, in-depth analytical and sociological research in the field of family policy is conducted annually. National reports are drafted and published. Recommendations are drawn up for central and local government bodies and interested organizations.

Sociological research shows that, in 2021, respondents cited socio-economic problems as the main cause of domestic violence: unemployment was 55.9 per cent, 52.8 per cent had bad habits (alcoholism, drug and gambling addiction) and 25.4 per cent reported examples of moral, psychological or physical violence in the family.

Second, the minister says that, since the beginning of the year, 4,042 stories have been placed on the national and regional media on the subject of "Strengthening the family institution" - 990 of those on television, 1,699 on the printed media and 1,353 on Internet resources.

Third, in accordance with the Action Plan for the implementation of the Family and Gender Policy Framework to 2030, and also under item 17 of the Road Map of the pre-election programme of the Amanat Party up to 2025, coordination is being established with local executive bodies for the creation of family support centres.

"Currently, 46 Family Support Centres are functioning in the regions. 36 of them operate under the social protection departments. All centres are financed from the local budget," mentioned the Head of Ministry of Information and Social Development in his speech.

Centres provide complex consulting services: psychological, social and legal assistance as well as all-round support aimed at strengthening family institution.

Since the beginning of this year, more than 90,000 people have received services from the centres. 

"At the meeting of the interdepartmental commission on prevention of offences under the Government held on 30 September, the Ministry of National Economy was assigned to determine the authorised body in this area," Minister of Information and Social Development Darkhan Kydyrali summarised.

At the Government session, chaired by the Prime Minister, Tamara Duisenova, Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population, made a report on the topic.

According to the head of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population, 41 crisis centres, of which 14 are public and 27 are not public, provide special social services to victims of domestic violence in the country.

"The centres operate in 18 regions of the country. The newly created Almaty and Abay oblasts do not yet have such centres, so we need to work on establishing them in these regions. Since this year, the Centres have been maintained solely with funds from local budgets. The allocated funds are more than 1 billion tenge," the Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population said.

The centres provide special social services for victims for up to six months 24 hours a day, or six hours a day during the day.

Since the beginning of the year, they have reached more than 3,000 people, of whom:

  • 3,055 people received medical assistance;
  • 277 persons were employed; 350 children were placed in pre-school institutions;
  • 350 children were enrolled in preschool institutions;
  • 528 people have been documented; 
  • 464 people have been reunited with their families;

In doing so, the Minister drew attention to the following two worrying facts:

  • First, almost 67% of the clients, or 2,661, are children who have experienced or witnessed violence;
  • Second, the main beneficiaries are families with many children.

If we look at the regional structure, the highest number of applicants is in Pavlodar region, Zhetysu region, Shymkent city, Almaty city. High level is also observed in Astana city, Kyzylorda region, Aktobe region and Zhambyl region.

In general, risks in this area are determined by the following 3 main reasons. One is post-facto work with such groups. The second is the underdeveloped network of crisis centres in the regions, except for Pavlodar, Akmola, Karaganda and Kostanay regions;

"For example, in East Kazakhstan region, which stably leads the top three anti-violence centres in family and domestic sphere, there is only one centre - in Ust-Kamenogorsk city with 12 beds," Duisenova said.

Third, the location of these centres makes them inaccessible for most victims of violence.

According to Duisenova, solution of these problems requires introduction of a mechanism for preliminary work with families or citizens with high probability of violent consequences.

The head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population considers it necessary to instruct the central authorities and Akims to:

  • use the power of the Family Digital Map to identify a target group at high risk.
  • involve existing Family Support Centres "Bakytty otbasy" as an institution for the prevention and prevention of domestic violence;
  • include this category of citizens as a priority target group to provide additional social support through local social programmes, employment assistance and rehabilitation;
  • work to expand the network of centres for social adaptation for victims of domestic violence, involving private sector actors.

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