The Parliament today approved amendments to the Penal Code, introducing the notion of domestic violence and toughening sentences for the offense.
The draft amendments aim to tackle the over-criminalization in the Penal Code, turning several minor offenses into misdemeanors and specifying the descriptions of offenses, enabling the police and prosecutors to focus on more serious offenses, Maria-Elisa Tuulik, spokesperson of the Ministry of Justice, told uudised.err.ee.
Domestic violence is introduced as a separate concept and sentences become harsher. Also, the presence of a child when violence is committed is now listed as aggravating circumstances.
According to a recent study, a third of Estonian women have suffered from domestic violence. The number has increased from a quarter in the course of the last decade.
The amendments will enter into force on January 1 next year.