Thousands of women in Russia die each year as a result of domestic violence, according to official estimates. But despite many years of discussions, domestic abuse is still not recognised as a crime and this hampers help for the victims, reports BBC Russian's Oleg Boldyrev in Moscow.

Anya has a lot on her mind. In a small, sparsely-furnished room, she is trying to get her two boys, aged four and seven, to take their afternoon nap.

It is not the easiest of tasks at the best of times, and is even more difficult in her temporary home - a room in a shelter for women victims of domestic violence.

Her story is typical. During her seven-year marriage, she was frequently beaten or verbally abused.

She lived in fear, not knowing where to seek help. When at last she decided to lodge a complaint with the police, several years ago, she was told little could be done about her husband as "it was his home".

"It's been a nightmare, but a silent one," she says.

"For a while, I couldn't leave my children alone, and couldn't go to the hospital to report my injuries. Then I was waiting for the children to grow up, so they could confirm to the police what had been happening. Then I started to make recordings, I taped what was going on.


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