A Russian newspaper has claimed victims of domestic abuse should be "proud of their bruises".

A column in Komsomolskaya Pravda, one of the country's most popular papers, has said that women should "find solace: in the fact that women who suffer domestic violence are more likely to give birth to boys, Daily Mail reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Tuesday which decriminalises domestic violence, sparking allegations his government is "trivialising" the problem.

The article, by writer Yaroslav Korobatov, stated: "For years, women who have been smacked around by their husbands have found solace in the rather hypocritical proverb, 'If he beats you, it means he loves you!'

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"However, a new scientific study is giving women with irascible husbands new grounds to be proud of their bruises, insofar as women who are beaten, biologists confirm, have a valuable advantage - they're more likely to give birth to boys!"

He cites research by controversial evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa, who in 2005 published an article called 'Violent men have more sons'.

The new Russian law reduces battery of a relative to a civil offence instead of a criminal one in first instances, when the victim suffered no serious harm.

British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday hit out at the new legislation, telling Parliament: 'We see this as a retrograde step by the Russian government. Repealing existing legislation sends out absolutely the wrong message on what is a global problem.'

And human rights group Amnesty International described the move as a 'sickening attempt to trivialise domestic violence'.

Those who support new legislation, including members of Putin's United Russia party, say they want to protect parents' right to discipline their children and to reduce the state's ability to meddle in family life.

They say anyone who inflicts serious physical harm will still be criminally liable.

But critics say the move is a step backwards which will exonerate "tyrants in the home" and discourage victims from reporting abuse.

Each year, about 14,000 women die in Russia at the hands of husbands or other relatives, according to a 2010 United Nations report.

In a statement on its website, the Kremlin said Putin had signed the law after it was approved by both chambers in Russia's parliament.

The State Duma, or lower house of parliament, passed the bill in January in its second of three readings by 385 votes to two.

Where to get help:

If it is an emergency and you or someone you know is at risk, call 111.
Women's Refuge: 0800 733 843
Victim Support: 0800 842 846
Lifeline: (09) 522 2999
Family Violence Info Line: 0800 456 45