Violence Against Women in Slovenia
Slovenia
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Population of women: 1,035,500/2,024,900
Life expectancy of women (at birth): 83
School life expectancy for women: 18
Women's adult literacy: 100%
Unemployment of women: 4.9%
Women engaged in economic activity: 53%

Source: U.N. Statistics Division, Social Indicators, updated June 2011

 

 

last updated 30 July 2010 

Slovenia became an independent state in 1991 and has since been recognized as one of the most politically and economically stable states to emerge from the former Yugoslavia. The Republic of Slovenia operates under a democratic parliamentary system and joined the European Union on May 1, 2004. Slovenia is also a member of the Eurozone, the Schengen area, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, NATO, UNESCO, WTO, OECD, and the United Nations.  From: United States Department of State, Background Note: Slovenia, 5 May 2010.

The Slovenian government has an autonomous Office for Equal Opportunities which oversees the implementation of both the Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and the Resolution on the National Programme for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (see below for details on these acts). The Office for Equal Opportunities is engaged in activities concentrating on following areas:  inclusion of women in the process of political decision making; labor market participation; reconciliation of work and family life; violence against women; health; and education. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia: Office for Equal Opportunities.       

The Republic of Slovenia has been designated a Tier One country by the U.S Department of State with regards to combatting human trafficking. Tier One countries fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in humans as set by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Slovenia has been classified as a Tier One country since 1996. From: United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Slovenia, 14 June 2010. (PDF, 71 pages).

 

Gender Equality

The average length of unemployment for women and men is equal; however women’s earnings average at only 93% of those of men. In 2009, the 90-seat National Assembly housed 13 women, and the 40-seat National Council had one female member. From: United States Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Slovenia, 11 March 2010. The Act on Elections to European Parliament was created in 2004 to tackle the underrepresentation of women in political decision-making. This act made it mandatory to have a minimum of 40% of each gender as candidates for European elections (Article 15). From: United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE), UN Questionnaire to Governments on Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome of the Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly (2000):  National Report of Slovenia, July 2004. (PDF, 23 pages).

Since 1995, higher education institutions have graduated, on average, 10% more women than men. Gender equality is becoming more of a reality in fields devoted to health and social work, economy, social sciences, pharmacy, and medicine.  In 1995 only 37% of doctors of science were women; in 2003 the figure had risen to slightly below 50%. From: United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE), UN Questionnaire to Governments on Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome of the Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly (2000):  National Report of Slovenia, July 2004. (PDF, 23 pages).

Slovenian legislation promotes and protects women's equality in several provisions. Article 14 of the Constitution of Slovenia guarantees everyone equal human rights and fundamental freedoms regardless of "national origin, race, sex, language, religion, political or other conviction, material standing, birth, education, social status or any other personal circumstance." Article 14 also guarantees equality before the law. The universal and equal right to vote is protected by Article 43 of the Constitution. Article 53 states that "marriage is based on the equality of both spouses. The State shall protect the family, motherhood, fatherhood, children and young people and shall create the necessary conditions for this protection." From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Constitution, 1991. Couples and individuals have the right to freely decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children. Slovenia offers free access to contraception and skilled attendance during childbirth. From: United States Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Slovenia, 11 March 2010.

The Criminal Code also protects gender equality. Article 141, "Violation of Right to Equality”, directly addresses equality: “Discrimination or deprivation of a recognized right against members of a protected class may be punished by a fine or imprisonment for up to one year.” Article 141(2) imposes the same punishment on any person who prosecutes an individual or organization because they advocate for equality. An official who commits either of the aforementioned acts may be punished by up to three years' imprisonment (Article 142(3)). From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages).

Slovenia became a party to CEDAW on 6 July 1992. On 23 September 2004, Slovenia ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (OP-CEDAW).  CEDAW has been described as the international bill of rights for women.  The convention defines what constitutes discrimination against women and establishes an action plan to end such discrimination. By accepting the convention, states are required to “incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women; establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.” From: United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

In 2002, the Slovenian government passed the Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, with the purpose of defining "common grounds for the improvement of the status of women and the establishment of equal opportunities for women and men in political, economic, social, educational fields and other fields of social life" (Article 1(1)). Article 5(1) defines equal treatment as the absence of direct and indirect discrimination. Direct gender discrimination is defined in Article 5(2) as whenever "a person has been, is, or could be treated less favorably in equal or similar circumstances than a person of the opposite gender." Article 5(3) defines indirect gender discrimination as whenever "apparently neutral provisions, standards, or treatment in equal or similar circumstances and conditions place persons of one gender in a less favorable situation, unless these provisions, standards, or treatment are relevant, necessary and justified by objective facts not related to gender." The Act establishes formal legal requirements for gender equality and remedies for disputes, as well as an official Advocate for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men to investigate reports of gender discrimination. From: UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women : 4th periodic report of States parties : Slovenia, 8 May 2007. (PDF, 95 pages).

 

Domestic Violence

SOS Help-Line, a non-governmental organization that provides anonymous help and support to victims of domestic violence, estimated in 2009 that 25% of women had experienced domestic violence. In the same year, SOS Help-Line reported receiving 3,417 support calls regarding domestic violence. From: United States Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Slovenia, 11 March 2010. The Slovenian police reported 2,289 suspects of family violence and 2,714 victims of family violence in 2007. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Resolution on the 2009 – 2014 National Programme on Prevention of Family Violence, 27 May 2009. (PDF, 47 pages). Through either partial or complete governmental funding, victims of domestic violence have access to 397 total beds through shelters, safe houses, and maternity homes in 19 different locations. Training for addressing domestic violence is offered for the police force through the police academy. From: United States Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Slovenia, 11 March 2010. On 20 May 2010, the Slovenian government adopted a National Plan for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. The plan outlines responsibilities and activities of individual ministries and groups. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Press Release, 20 May 2010.

In 1999, amendments to the Penal Code specified domestic violence as a criminal offense which is prosecuted ex officio and for which a prison sentence of up to two years may be awarded. From: United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE), UN Questionnaire to Governments on Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome of the Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly (2000): National Report of Slovenia, July 2004. (PDF, 23 pages). Family violence is classified as an independent criminal offense in Article 191 of the Criminal Code and is punishable by up to five years of imprisonment. From: Council of Europe, Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, December 2009. (PDF, 154 pages). Furthermore, Article 6 of the Protection of Public Order Act classifies any violent and reckless action against a family member as a misdemeanor. Such a violation involves stricter punishment than other misdemeanors. From: United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, The UN Secretary General’s Database on Violence against Women: Slovenia, 2009.

In 1998, the Criminal Procedure Act was amended. Article 195a introduced the measure of a ban on approaching a specified person or place. The court shall dictate an appropriate distance from the specific place or person which the accused must respect and not intentionally cross. If failure to adhere to the ban ensues, the accused is subject to detention or a monetary fine. From: Council of Europe, Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, December 2009. (PDF, 154 pages).

Members of the police force were given the right to issue a protection order in 2003 through amendments to the Police Act. Through a protection order, a member of the police force can ban a perpetrator from contacting, communicating, or approaching the victim. From: United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE), UN Questionnaire to Governments on Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome of the Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly (2000):  National Report of Slovenia, July 2004. (PDF, 23 pages). A police officer may issue the restraining order for 48 hours, following which an investigating judge has the power to increase the order to a total of 10 days. If there is reason to believe that the perpetrator will continue to pose a threat the victim may, three days before the expiration of the order, appeal to the investigating judge to have the order extended to 60 days. From: Council of Europe, Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, December 2009. (PDF, 154 pages).

Article 411 of the Civil Procedure Act states that when dealing with matrimonial actions, the court may require the removal of a spouse from a common dwelling if the other spouse makes a motion for such action and if the removal is necessary to prevent violence. From: Council of Europe Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, December 2009. (PDF, 154 pages).

 

Trafficking in Human Beings

Slovenia is a transit and destination country, and to a lesser extent a source country, for human trafficking. Women and children from Slovenia, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, and Iran are subject to forced prostitution in Slovenia and also transited through Slovenia to Western Europe for the same purpose. Citizens from Ukraine, the Domincan Republic, and Romania are subjected to forced labor in Slovenia, and after migrating through Slovenia are subjected to similar conditions in Italy and Germany. The government of Slovenia has classified combating trafficking in human beings as one of their special projects. In 2001, the Slovenian Government created the Interdepartmental Working Group (IDWG) to focus on the fight against trafficking in human beings, and in 2004 the first Plan of Action to Fight Trafficking in Humans was adopted. The plan focused on preventative and protective measures. The working group also published national action plans for 2008-2009  and 2010-2011. From: United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE), UN Questionnaire to Governments on Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome of the Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly (2000):  National Report of Slovenia, July 2004. (PDF, 23 pages).

Throughout the past couple of years, the government investigated one instance of trafficking and 27 cases of forced prostitution. There was one criminal act of trafficking reported to authorities, and two trafficking convictions for crimes committed in previous years.  Throughout the past couple years the Slovenian government has worked with various non-governmental organizations (including KLJUČ [KEY] Society: Centre for the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons, and Karitas) to facilitate public awareness campaigns that target both the general public and specific groups that have been labeled as the most vulnerable to trafficking. From: United States Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Slovenia, 11 March 2010.

The U.S Department of State reports that Slovenia increased the amount of funding designated for victim services from $95,000 in 2008 to $120,000 in 2010. Although there is no comprehensive protection and shelter program for victims of trafficking, the government provides funding to two NGOs that provide both short-term and extended victim assistance. Assistance includes shelter, rehabilitative counseling, medical assistance, vocational training, and legal assistance. In 2009, the government identified 29 victims of trafficking in humans, and 23 victims were referred for assistance. Victims are encouraged to aid investigations of trafficking offenders, and 12 victims assisted law enforcement in 2009, compared with nine victims in 2008. From: United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Slovenia, 14 June 2010. (PDF, 71 pages).

Trafficking in human beings is criminalized in Chapter 35 of the Penal Code (Criminal Offences Against Humanity and International Law). Article 387(a) punishes anyone who "purchases another person, takes possession of it, accommodates it, transports it, sells it, delivers it or disposes with it in any other way, or acts as a broker in such operations, for the purpose of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour, enslavement, servitude or trafficking in organs, human tissues or blood” with imprisonment for one to ten years. All convicted traffickers serve a prison sentence.  From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages). 

At the 620th and 621st meetings of CEDAW, the Slovenian representative reported that Slovenia had amended the Act on Breaches of Public Order and Peace. This act removed both the definition of prostitution as a misdemeanor and the possibility of imprisonment as a penalty for prostitution. From: UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Twenty-Ninth Session,  30 June – 18 July 2003. (PDF, 8 pages).

Prostitution can be considered a misdemeanor, however, if it violates the Regulation on Public Order. The U.S Department of State and anti-trafficking non-governmental organizations estimate that as many as 80 bars in Slovenia could be engaged in facilitating or promoting prostitution. Article 186 "Interceding for Prostitution" of the Penal Code, states:(1) Whoever gains over, incites, encourages or lures other persons to prostitution or in any other manner enables their handing over to a third person for prostitution or in any other manner co-operates in organisation or conducting of prostitution, shall be punished by imprisonment of three months up to five years.” From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages).

Article 185 of the Penal Code addresses abuse of prostitution, punishing anyone who “participates for exploitative purposes in the prostitution of another person or instructs, obtains or encourages another person to engage in prostitution with force, threat or deception,” by imprisonment of one to ten years. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages).

 

Sexual Assault

Rape and sexual assault are prevalent in Slovenia. In 2009, SOS Help-Line reported that one in seven Slovenian women were raped during their lifetime, but that 95% of these women never sought assistance or counseling. Spousal rape in particular is severely underreported. The U.S Department of State reports that in Slovenia in 2009 “there were 46 reported criminal acts of rape in the first half of the year, 64 reported criminal acts of sexual violence, 20 reported criminal acts of sexual abuse of the weak, and 201 criminal acts of sexual attack on a minor under the age of 15.”  From: United States Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Slovenia, 11 March 2010.

Sexual assault cases are handled through assault statutes in the Penal Code. Article 145 of the code states "Whosoever threatens the safety of another person through serious threat to life or limb shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment of up to one year." In Article 146 the code determines that "whosoever, through maltreatment, affects the physical or mental integrity of another person shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment for up to six months." The victim must file a complaint in order for the prosecutor to initiate proceedings. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia,Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages).

Rape is punishable by law under Article 180 of the Penal Code by a period of imprisonment for one to ten years. Paragraph 3 of the same article adds: "Whosoever forces a person of the opposite or the same sex to have sexual intercourse under threat of disclosing information about her/him, or a person close to her/him, that could harm personal dignity or the person's good name, or under threat of causing damage to wealth, shall be liable to imprisonment from six months to five years." From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages). Sentences for perpetrators who commit spousal rape are the same as for any other form of rape. According to Article 170 of the 2008 Criminal Code, the only difference is that if the offense has been committed against a spouse or an extra-marital partner, or a partner of a registered same-sex civil partnership, the prosecution must be initiated by a private complaint. There is no specific definition of consent in the Penal Code. From: Council of Europe, Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, December 2009. (PDF, 154 pages).

Article 181 of the Penal Code addresses sexual violence. Paragraph 1 states “Whoever uses force or threatens a person of the opposite or same sex with an imminent attack on life or body thereby compelling that person to submit or endure to any sexual act not covered by the preceding Article, shall be punished by imprisonment of six months up to ten years.” If the offense is especially atrocious or humiliating, the perpetrator shall be punished by imprisonment of at least three years. The prosecution of such an offense occurring between two persons living in a marital or extra-marital community shall be initiated upon a motion. Violation of sexual integrity through exploitation of a position is also punishable by law and may result in imprisonment of up to five years.  From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages).

Violation of sexual integrity through abuse of position is legislated against in Article 174 of the 2008 Criminal Code. Sentences for an educator, guardian, adoptive parent, parent or any other person who through the abuse of his position has sexual intercourse or performs any lewd act with a person above the age of fifteen whom he is entrusted to teach, educate, protect or care shall be imprisonment for one to eight years. From: Council of Europe, Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, December 2009. (PDF, 154 pages).

 

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workforce is prohibited in Slovenia. Only sixteen acts of sexual harassment were reported in Slovenia in 2009. From: United States Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Slovenia, 11 March 2010. The 2007 Employment Relationships Act and the 2007 Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment Act define sexual harassment as: “any form of undesired verbal, non-verbal or physical action or behaviour of a sexual nature with the effect or intent of adversely affecting the dignity of a person, especially where this involves the creation of an intimidating, hateful, degrading, shaming or insulting environment.” From: Council of Europe, Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, December 2009. (PDF, 154 pages).

The Advocate for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men is employed by the Office of Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Equal Opportunities and hears cases of alleged unequal treatment of women and men. The advocate issues opinions with regard to the provisions of the Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. From: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Report on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in European Union Member States, June 2004. (PDF, 173 pages).

The Employment Relationships Act, entered into force on 1 January 2003, prohibits sexual harassment. The Act requires employers to provide employees with a workplace free of unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal treatment of a sexual nature, which would lead to "intimidating, hostile or humiliating relationships and environment at work and offends the dignity of men and women at work" (Article 45). Under Article 229(6), a minimum fine of ST 1,000,000 may be imposed on employers who fail to protect employees from sexual harassment. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia: Ministry of Labour, Family, and Social Affairs, Employment Relationships Act, 1 January 2003.

Article 197 of the Criminal Code contains sentencing guidelines for persons who degrade or frighten another person through sexual harassment or unequal treatment at the workplace or in relation to work. Perpetrators shall be sentenced for up to two years of imprisonment unless the offence results in psychological, psychosomatic, or physical illness or reduction of work productivity, for which the imprisonment is increased to no more than three years. From: Council of Europe, Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, December 2009. (PDF, 154 pages).

The European Union addresses sexual harassment in its Equal Treatment Directive 2002/73/EC. Included in this directive are the definition of sexual harassment, procedures for the prevention of harassment, the establishment of procedures for enforcement purposes, compensation for victims, and the promotion, analysis, monitoring, and support of equal treatment of all persons. From: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Report on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in European Union Member States, June 2004. (PDF, 173 pages).

 

Compiled from:

Council of Europe, Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, December 2009. (PDF, 154 pages).

Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Constitution, 1991

Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages)

Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Press Release, 20 May 2010.

Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Resolution on the 2009 – 2014 National Programme on Prevention of Family Violence, 27 May 2009. (PDF, 47 pages).

Government of the Republic of Slovenia: Office for Equal Opportunities.

Government of the Republic of Slovenia: Ministry of Labour, Family, and Social Affairs, Employment Relationships Act, 1 January 2003.

UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women : 4th periodic report of States parties : Slovenia, 8 May 2007. (PDF, 95 pages).

UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Twenty-Ninth Session, 30 June – 18 July 2003. (PDF, 8 pages).

United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, The UN Secretary General’s Database on Violence against Women: Slovenia, 2009.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Report on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in European Union Member States, June 2004. (PDF, 173 pages).

United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE), UN Questionnaire to Governments on Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome of the Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly (2000):  National Report of Slovenia, July 2004. (PDF, 23 pages).

United Nations Statistics Division, Social Indicators, December 2009.

United States Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Slovenia, 11 March 2010.

United States Department of State, Background Note: Slovenia, 5 May 2010.

United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Slovenia, 14 June 2010. (PDF, 71 pages)