Domestic Violence In Ukraine: Gender Conditioning And Historiography Of The Problem

  • A.A. Vovk
Keywords: domestic violence, gender violence, criminal legislation, criminal law.


Domestic violence as a legal category is an actual topic today both in Ukraine and in the European Union. Efficient mechanisms for influencing this negative phenomenon have been developed, by the world community. Numerous discussions are being held for improving the legal impact on domestic violence, with a particular focus on criminal justice.

Obviously, it is necessary to understand the reasons of occurrence the problem for finding effective ways to solve it. First of all, family is an environment of close interaction of representatives of opposite sexes. The participants of such interaction realize their social roles in this environment. These social roles are called «gender». Domestic violence is considered to be gender-based because it arises from a discriminatory attitude towards the social role of the victim sex, rather than towards its sexual characteristics. The lack of separation of these aspects from each other often leads to a mistaken equating of the concepts of «gender-based violence» and «sexual violence».

Tracing the presence of gender-based violence in Ukrainian society is possible with using various methods, for instance the method of historical analysis. Several normative legal acts, which were in force on the territory of Ukraine in different epochs of historical development were chosen for performing this task: Church Statute of Prince Yaroslav, Statut of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania of 1529, The Rights of which the Minor Russian People are Judged of 1743, Code of Penal and Correctional Punishment of 1845, Criminal Code of the Russian Empire in 1903, criminal legislation of the Soviet period and the Criminal Code of 2001. Each of these acts contained rules, that established criminal liability for certain aspects of domestic violence. Some of the acts contained entire sections on crimes against the family. However, none of these documents have a norm, that would provide criminal liability for domestic violence in the modern sense.

The analysis of normative legal acts confirmed the traditional nature of domestic violence for Ukrainian society, as well as its gender-based nature.