The Russian ombudsman for children has supported a recently drafted bill imposing life sentences for pedophilia, but added that the creation of a nationwide register of offenders was also necessary.
“We consider it important to continue work on a register of persons who have committed sex crimes against minors and other illegal acts, which would allow them to be monitored for the rest of their lives,” Anna Kuznetsova wrote on her Facebook page.
“We also support such measures as restricting internet access and tougher sanctions for violations of various bans during the administrative period for which they are imposed.”
The ombudsman added that, in her opinion, any bills that protect the safety of children should be passed as quickly as possible.
The new bill targeting those who commit sex crimes against minors was drafted in parliament on Thursday by a working group of lawmakers headed by Deputy Duma Speaker Irina Yarovaya (United Russia). The new motion introduces life sentences as punishment for sex crimes against children younger than 12, and also makes an attempt to conceal sex crimes a separate offense. It also makes circumstances in which a suspect lives in the same home as their victim an aggravating factor in crimes.
When first announcing the start of work on the bill last October, Yarovaya noted that criminal use of the internet was allowing offenders to commit crimes against a large number of potential victims at the same time. To address this problem, the new bill makes distribution of pornographic materials among children via the internet an aggravating factor in a crime, along with coercion of underage citizens to engage in sex acts by means of the internet.
During the same month, Ombudsman Kuznetsova told reporters that the number of sex crimes committed against children in Russia had increased from 8,000 to almost 12,000 in the past five years. She said that the current situation demanded immediate measures by lawmakers.