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On April 21, 2007, the Rule of Law Initiative's Moscow and Vladivostok offices, in cooperation with the Khabaroviskiy Krai Court, held the first Domestic Violence Training for Justices of the Peace in Khabarovsk, Russia. The training was designed to increase gender-based violence awareness and to improve the treatment of domestic violence cases in the Russian justice system. Twenty-one judges, 11 court personnel, and the Deputy Head of the Khabarovskiy Krai Court attended the training.
The training methodology was comprised of presentations, discussions and interactive exercises and was led by Julia Antonova, Directing Attorney of the Rule of Law Initiative's Gender Program in Russia; Elisabeth Duban, IWID Fellow/USAID, Russia; Ludmila Yakhontova, Attorney working with the Crisis Center for Women in St. Petersburg and the Center for Social Research; and Mikhail Korzhenkov, Regional Judge in Bryansk.
Topics included an overview of the problem of domestic violence throughout Russia (including root causes and consequences), international mechanisms, the role of the state in preventing violence against women, and current gaps in the Russian criminal justice system. The training attempted to break the barrier of silence surrounding the issue of domestic violence in Russia. It also addressed stereotypes and misperceptions about domestic violence, including the belief that domestic violence is a private issue that does not require state action. Despite the sensitive subject matter, participants rated the training positively in their evaluations.
The training is part of the Rule of Law Initiative's Gender Justice Program in Russia, whose mission includes seeking to increase legal awareness on topics such as domestic violence, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment among NGOs and members of the justice sector.