The Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence was adopted at the end of 2009. The Law does not specifically criminalise domestic violence; however, it does allow for the use of ‘administrative detention’ (i.e. short-term detention without trial) in the event of violation of a restraining order. The US Department of State Human Rights report for 2012 notes that cases of domestic violence are also sometimes prosecuted as criminal assault.
The Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence includes a comprehensive definition of domestic violence that encompasses physical, psychological, sexual, and economic violence.
Under the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence and amendments made to the Code on Administrative Procedures, courts can grant restraining orders against perpetrators of between three months and one year. Non-compliance with a restraining order can result in administrative detention and perpetrators can also be placed in emergency administrative detention of up to 48 hours while a court decides whether or not to issue a restraining order.
In cases where domestic violence is prosecuted as criminal assault, the penalties are three months to three years imprisonment, or up to ten years imprisonment in very serious cases.
The Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence includes references to a comprehensive mechanism to oversee the implementation of the law, laying out the responsibilities of the courts, police, local authorities, healthcare providers, crisis centres, and social care providers.
The Advocates for Human Rights note that some police officers have received special training to deal with domestic violence cases.
It appears that in practice, the law is not effectively implemented. During her visit to Kazakhstan, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Representative on Gender Issues heard from women’s rights activists that few of the crisis centres established under the law actually accept women who have suffered domestic violence.
In addition, according to the official Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) report, in many cases of domestic violence, couples ‘reconcile’ and the complaint is withdrawn,
indicating that victims of domestic violence may not be receiving the support they need to proceed with prosecution. In particular, very few cases are brought under criminal law, as prosecutors appear to prefer to impose administrative penalties.
The official CEDAW report notes that women often seek to conceal the fact that they have experienced domestic violence.
Research on early marriage by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) found that rates of domestic violence within such marriages were very high (with married girls being beaten by parents-in-law as well as by husbands), but that child spouses did not report the abuse because they do not know where to turn to for help.
Since the adoption of the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence in 2009, 26,000 restraining orders have been issued in cases of domestic violence, and 20,000 people have been placed in administrative detention, pending the granting of a restraining order, or following the violation of a restraining order.
Research by UNFPA found that when violence is reported to police, police are reluctant to get involved, and perpetrators are rarely punished.
The US Department of State notes that police will usually only intervene if the abuse is life threatening, and sometimes try and dissuade women from pursuing complaints.
is a criminal offence in Kazakhstan.
Criminal investigations can only proceed if the victim registers a complaint; however, once she has done so, that complaint cannot be withdrawn. This is designed to ensure that a woman cannot be intimated into withdrawing the complaint.
While the criminal code does not specifically mention marital rape, a Regulatory Decision adopted by the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan in 2007 states that the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim should not play a role in determination of rape or other acts of sexual violence. This thus means that spousal rape can be criminalised.
There is no clause in the Criminal Code indicating that a perpetrator can escape prosecution by marrying the victim. Penalties for rape range between three and fifteen years’ imprisonment, depending on the severity of the attack, the number of perpetrators, and the age of the victim.
The US State Department notes that according to official figures, 1715 cases of rape were reported to police in 2012, out of which 1821 criminal cases were prosecuted. However, police are often reluctant to investigate cases of rape, particular spousal rape.
is not specifically prohibited under Kazakhstani law., 
During the visit of the OSCE’s Special Representative on Gender Issues to Kazakhstan, NGO representatives and parliamentarians suggested that more education of the public and members of Parliament is needed to better understand the nature, seriousness and frequency of sexual harassment.
According to the OSCE’s Special Representative on Gender Issues, women’s rights NGOs reported instances of sexual harassment in schools and workplaces, and considered it to be a serious issue.
A small-scale pilot survey carried out by the Feminist League of Kazakhstan found that of 750 people questioned, 70% had experienced sexual harassment of some form.
According to Amnesty International, a woman labour activist accused of involvement in the 2011 demonstrations in Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan reported that she had been sexually assaulted while in custody; she was later sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for ‘inciting social disorder’.
In another case, a woman prisoner in a different region of Kazakhstan reported that she had been sexually harassed by prison guards.
There is no evidence to suggest that female genital mutilation is practised in Kazakhstan.
The practice of ‘bride kidnapping
’ (abduction of women for forced marriage) occurs in some regions of Kazakhstan, particularly in the southern part of the country. Some accounts point to an increase in the practice since the fall of the Soviet Union and the social and economic upheaval that followed it. While in some cases the kidnapping is staged, following an agreement made between the couple, in other cases, the woman has not given prior consent, or is kidnapped against her will by a stranger or someone she barely knows, often using force or violence. In most cases, it is very difficult for a woman to resist and / or leave once she has been brought to the ‘groom’s house, as to do so would result in shame and stigma.
While kidnapping is a criminal offence, prosecutions are very seldom brought in cases of bride kidnapping. According to research by UNFPA, police are usually reluctant to intervene, treating it as a matter to be resolved by the two families concerned.
is available on demand in Kazakhstan.
 Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan ‘On Prevention of Domestic Violence’, 2009  CEDAW (2012) p.9  US Department of State (2013)  Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan ‘On Prevention of Domestic Violence’, 2009, Article 4  CEDAW (2012), p.9  US Department of State (2013)  Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan ‘On Prevention of Domestic Violence’, 2009, Advocates for Human Rights (2010)  OSCE (2012), p.2  CEDAW (2012), p.9  CEDAW (2012), p.9  CEDAW (2012), p.9  Khairullina, Assiya (2012), p.4  CEDAW (2012), p.9  Khairullina, Assiya (2012), p.4  US Department of State (2013)  Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Article 120  Advocates for Human Rights (2010)  CEDAW (2012), p.26  Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Article 120  US Department of State (2013)  OSCE (2012), p.1  Glushkova, Svetlana (2013)  OSCE (2012), p.1-2  OSCE (2012), p.1-2  Glushkova, Svetlana (2013)  Amnesty International (2013), p.145  Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (2012)  Kennan Institute (n.d.)  Khairullina, Assiya (2012), p.5  United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013)