Law and Policy

last updated 30 July 2010

Slovenia’s goal of establishing gender equality as a sustainable reality has led to the adoption of many international conventions and the passage of numerous pieces of legislation that protect and promote women’s rights.  

International conventions relating to gender equality that Slovenia has adopted include: the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (1 May 2004), the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (6 July 1992), and the Convention on the Political Rights of Women (6 July 1992), See Treaties Page for a more complete listing. From: University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, Ratification of Human Rights Treaties: Slovenia, accessed 15 July 2010.

Slovenia succeeded to The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on 6 July 1992. In succeeding to the convention Slovenia agreed 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.” Slovenia has also ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (OP-CEDAW); ratified 23 September 2004. 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, which soon emerged as a legal basis for the use of temporary measures to promote equality between women and men. Article 1 of the Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men defines the goals of the act as twofold:

“(1) The aim of this Act is to define 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 (hereinafter: equal opportunities).

(2) The establishment of equal opportunities is a duty of the entire society and represents the elimination of obstacles to the introduction of gender equality, above all through the prevention and removal of unequal treatment of women and men as a form of discrimination in practice arising from traditionally and historically conditioned different roles within society, as well as the establishment of conditions for the introduction of equal representation of both genders in all fields of social life.” From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, 21 June 2002.

The Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, along with the Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment Act, sets apart the duties of the autonomous Office for Equal Opportunities, and created the official position of “Advocate for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men”; a position created to investigate and render opinions on reports of gender discrimination. On 1 January 2005, the Advocate began hearing cases of alleged 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).

Using the Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men as a base, the Slovenian government adopted the Resolution on the National Programme for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in October 2005. The main objective of this resolution is to improve the status of women and to make gender equality a sustainable reality in Slovenian society. Specific objectives and measures to reach those objectives are outlined in the document. The resolution called for periodic plans to be written every two years. 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).       

Article 141 of the Criminal Code, “Violation of Equal Status”, directly addresses both the deprivation of human rights due to gender and the granting of special privileges as a result of gender. 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).

The Slovenian Constitution guarantees that all are equal before the law in Article 14. Article 43 declares the universal and equal right to vote, and on 15 June 2004, Article 43 was amended to include the addition of measures provided by the law for encouraging the equal opportunity of men and women in standing for election in both local and state communities. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Constitution, 1991. On 26 February 2004, the Slovenian National Assembly voted to require a forty percent female quota in the upcoming June European Parliament election ballot. This legislation (The Election of Slovenian Members to the European Parliament Act) also requires that at least one female candidate be included in the top half of the list. 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).

Article 53 of the Constitution addresses marriages and the family. All marriages are to be based on the equality of the spouses. The Constitution also protects the right to a free decision concerning the number, spacing, and timing of child bearing. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Constitution, 1991.

Slovenia has enacted numerous pieces of legislation that address domestic violence, trafficking in human beings, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.


Domestic Violence

Domestic violence was specifically set apart as a criminal offense in 1999. The offense is prosecuted ex officio and may result in imprisonment for up to two years. 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). 

Article 191 of the Criminal Code classifies family violence as an independent criminal offense that may be punishable by up to five years of imprisonment, and Article 6 of the Protection of Public Order Act classifies any violent and reckless action against a family member as a misdemeanor that deserves stricter punishment than other misdemeanors. 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) and United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, The UN Secretary General’s Database on Violence against Women: Slovenia, 2009.

The Family Violence Protection Act (2008) defines the notion of violence in families and seeks to prevent, protect, and provide assistance to victims of family violence. The act breaks down family violence to include any form of physical, sexual, psychological, or economic violence exerted by one member of the family on another. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Family Violence Protection Act, 2008.

The Slovenian Criminal Procedure Act was amended in 1998. Orders of protections were introduced in Article 195a, which states that the court shall dictate an appropriate distance from the specific place or person which the accused must respect and must not intentionally cross. Failure to adhere to the ban may result in 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). In 2003, amendments to the Police Act introduced the right of members of the police force to issue an order of protection. A member of the police force may ban a perpetrator from contacting, communicating, or approaching the victim through the issuance of an order of protection. 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). Orders of protection that are issued by a member of the police force last for a duration of 48 hours, following which an investigating judge has the power to increase the order to a total of 10 days. The victim may appeal to the investigating judge to have the order extended to 60 days if there is reason to believe that the perpetrator will continue to pose a threat to the victim. 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). In 2004, the Slovenian government released the National Programme of Family Violence Protection. This document defines the objectives, measures and key providers of policies on the prevention and reduction of domestic violence in the Republic of Slovenia in the period from 2009 to 2014. The two main objectives of this document are to coordinate different governmental and non-governmental groups and to provide an effective means of reducing domestic violence through recognizing and preventing it. From: Minister of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia, Breaking the silence – united against domestic violence, 17 – 19 June 2009. (PDF, 14). A Slovenian National Plan for the Prevention of Domestic Violence was adopted 20 May 2010. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Press Release, 20 May 2010.

 

Trafficking in Humans

In December of 2001, the Interdepartmental Working Group (IWG) for the fight against trafficking in persons was created. The IWG creates annual reports that inform the government of its activities. In 2004, the IWG created its first National Action Plan, detailing preventative and protective measures of various organizations and bodies of government. Subsequent plans have been released for the periods of 2008 – 2009 and 2010 – 2011. From: Republic of Slovenia, Fight against trafficking in human persons, accessed 22 July 2010.

On 12 December 2000, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was signed. This convention was ratified on 21 May 2004. The Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea, and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Crime, was signed on 15 November 2001 and ratified on 21 May 2004. From: University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, Ratification of Human Rights Treaties: Slovenia, accessed 22 July 2010.

The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which supplemented the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, was also signed on 15 November 2001 and ratified on 24 April 2004. From: Republic of Slovenia, Fight against trafficking in human persons, accessed 22 July 2010.

The Declaration on the commitment: legislation of the status of victims of trafficking in human beings was signed by the Minister of the Interior in July of 2003. Through this declaration, Slovenia committed itself to giving appropriate help, protection, and legal status to victims of trafficking in human beings. In September of 2003, the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Providing Help to Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings in the Republic of Slovenia was signed, thereby providing a three-month temporary residence to victims of trafficking in human beings who are residing in Slovenia illegally, if the correct protocol is followed. From: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Fourth Periodic Report of States Parties: Slovenia, 8 May 2007. (PDF, 95 pages).

Amendments to Chapter 19 (Criminal Offences Against Sexual Integrity) and Chapter 35 (Criminal Offences Against Humanity and International Law) of the Criminal Code were adopted in 2004. Article 185 defines abuse of prostitution and merges former definitions of criminal offenses in pimping and serving as an agent in prostitution. Imprisonment for pimping varies from three months to five years, but is increased to one to ten years if the offense is committed against a minor or several persons, or if the offense is committed within a criminal association. From: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Fourth Periodic Report of States Parties: Slovenia, 8 May 2007. (PDF, 95 pages).

Article 387(a) of the Criminal Code, which explicitly criminalizes trafficking in persons, was also adopted in 2004. Trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, servitude or organ transplantation is punishable by one to ten years imprisonment. The minimum sentence increases to three years if the trafficking involves a juvenile victim or an organized criminal group or is committed by force, threat, infatuation, kidnapping, or abuse of authority. Prior to the amendment to the Criminal Code, trafficking in humans was outlawed under Article 387(1), which outlaws slavery and “similar conditions.” From: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Fourth Periodic Report of States Parties: Slovenia, 8 May 2007. (PDF, 95 pages).

In December of 2005 the Witness Protection Act was signed. This act provides an effective and appropriate protection protocol for victims of trafficking in human beings and other threatened persons.  From: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Fourth Periodic Report of States Parties: Slovenia, 8 May 2007. (PDF, 95 pages).

The National Assembly of Slovenia adopted the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings on 15 June 2009.  From: Republic of Slovenia, Fight against trafficking in human persons, accessed 22 July 2010.

Slovene representatives at CEDAW meetings noted that prostituting oneself is no longer considered a misdemeanor, and, while prostitution is still prohibited, prison sentences may no longer be imposed on prostituted women. Prostitution can be considered a misdemeanor, however, if it violates the Regulation on Public Order. From: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Fourth Periodic Report of States Parties: Slovenia, 8 May 2007. (PDF, 95 pages).

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).

 

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault cases are handled through assault statutes. Threats against the security of another are outlawed in Article 145 of the Criminal Code, while Article 146 addresses maltreatment of the physical or mental integrity of another. The prosecution for each offense must be initiated by a motion from the injured party. Each offense is punishable by either a fine or up to one year imprisonment. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages).

Rape is punishable by imprisonment for one to ten years according to Article 180 of the Criminal Code. If the offense is committed in an “atrocious or especially humiliating manner or successively by several persons” the perpetrator shall be imprisoned for at least three years.  The Criminal Code does not provide a specific definition of “consent”.  From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages).

Sexual violence is defined in Article 181 as “using force or threatening  a person of the opposite or same sex with imminent attack on life or body to compel that person to submit or endure to any sexual act not covered by the preceding Article (Article 180: Rape).” Punishment for acts of sexual violence includes imprisonment of six months to ten years, depending on the severity and circumstances of the offense. In cases where a particularly atrocious or especially humiliating manner was used, sentencing begins at three years of imprisonment. Compelling another person to perform or endure a sexual act through threatening them with the disclosure of a matter concerning them or their next of kin which is capable of damaging the honour of the victim or their kin shall be punished by imprisonment for up to five years. Furthermore, Section 4 of Article 181 states that if sexual violence is committed against a spouse, the prosecution must be initiated upon a motion.  From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages).

Article 184, “Violation of Sexual Integrity by Abuse of Position” states that anyone who abuses a position of power to induce his subordinate or dependent person to have sexual intercourse with him or to perform or submit to any other sexual act shall be punished by imprisonment of up to five years. This article specifically states that any “teacher, educator, guardian, adoptive parent, parent or any other person who through the abuse of his position has sexual intercourse or performs any other sexual act with a person above the age of fifteen whom he is entrusted to teach, educate, protect or care for, shall be punished by imprisonment of one up to eight years.” From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Criminal Code, 2005. (Word Document, 151 pages).

 

Sexual Harassment

The Employment Relations Act, which entered into force on 1 January 2003, prohibits direct and indirect discrimination, places the burden of proof on the employer, and holds the employer accountable for damages. Article 6 prohibits direct discrimination based on several protected grounds, including sex. It prohibits and defines indirect discrimination as "apparently neutral provisions, criteria and practice would put persons of certain sex, race, age, health or disability, religious or other conviction, sexual orientation or national origin at disadvantage, unless such provisions, criteria and practice are objectively justified, appropriate and necessary." Article 6 also requires the employer to provide equality to both women and men with regard to hiring, training, promotion, education, salary, work conditions and hours, time off, and termination. Article 45(1) prohibits sexual harassment and requires the employer to provide "a working environment in which none of the workers is subject to employer's, superior's or co-worker's undesired treatment of sexual nature including undesired physical, verbal or nonverbal treatment or other sexually based behavior which creates intimidating, hostile or humiliating relationships and environment at work and offends the dignity of men and women at work." Article 229 holds the employer liable for a minimum fine of ST 1,000,000 for unequal treatment (Article 229(1)) or failing to protect workers against sexual harassment (Article 229(6)). In addition, the representatives noted that the National Assembly adopted a provision in 2002 ensuring that legislation use non-sexist language. From: Government of the Republic of Slovenia: Ministry of Labour, Family, and Social Affairs, Employment Relationships Act, 1 January 2003.

The Civil Servants Act of 2005 also addresses sexual harassment at work. Article 15.a prohibits any “unwanted physical, verbal or nonverbal conduct or behavior of a public servant deriving from any personal circumstance and creating intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, abusive or offensive working environment for any person and violating his or her dignity.” From: Council of Europe, Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, January 2007. (PDF, 232 pages).

The Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment Act was adopted in May of 2004. This act prohibits discrimination on any grounds of personal circumstance, including gender. Article 1 of the act provides starting points for ensuring equal treatment of every person in any area of social life, including areas of employment, personal relationships, and education. Article 4 and Article 5 define direct and indirect discrimination and harassment. 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).

Article 197 of the Criminal Code addresses persons who degrade or frighten another person at the workplace or in relation to work with sexual harassment or unequal treatment. Persons committing these acts will be sentenced to up to two years imprisonment unless the offense 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 Equal Treatment Directive 2002/73/EC, from the European Council, defines sexual harassment, outlines procedures for the prevention of harassment, establishes procedures for enforcement purposes, lays out compensation practices for victims, and addresses 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:

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Fourth Periodic Report of States Parties: Slovenia, May 2007. (PDF, 95 pages).

Council of Europe, Legislation in the Member States of the Council of Europe in the field of Violence Against Women, January 2007. (PDF, 232 pages).

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, Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, 21 June 2002.

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, Family Violence Protection Act, 2008.

Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Fight against trafficking in human persons, accessed 22 July 2010.

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

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

Minister of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia, Breaking the silence – united against domestic violence, 17 – 19 June 2009. (PDF, 14 pages).

United Nations 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).

United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, accessed 22 July 2010.

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).

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, Ratification of Human Rights Treaties: Slovenia, accessed 15 July 2010.