Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape and domestic violence, is illegal. The penalty for rape is one to 10 years in prison. SOS Helpline, an NGO that provided anonymous emergency counseling and services to victims of domestic violence, estimated that one in seven women was raped during her lifetime. Victims rarely reported spousal rape to authorities. Police actively investigated accusations of rape and prosecuted offenders. There were 23 reported rapes, three attempted rapes, and 28 other reported acts of sexual violence in the first half of the year. SOS Helpline estimated that only a small percentage of rape victims sought assistance or counseling due to concerns about the impact on themselves and their children. In July the government adopted amendments to the domestic violence act to ban corporal punishment and improve protection for victims. The changes expand the definition of domestic violence to include threats of violence, such as intimidation, and redefine family member status to include former partners, children of partners, and cohabitating partners.
The law provides from six months to 10 years’ imprisonment for aggravated and grievous bodily harm. Violence against women, including spousal abuse, was generally underreported. When police received reports of spousal abuse or violence, they generally intervened and prosecuted offenders. SOS Helpline estimated 25 percent of women were victims of domestic violence at some point during their lives. SOS Helpline and the NGO Kljuc provided support hotlines, and SOS Helpline reported calls and e-mail queries.
There was a network of maternity homes, safe houses, and shelters for women and children who were victims of violence. The total capacity of this network was 450 beds–290 in safe houses and 160 in maternity homes. The police academy offered annual training on domestic violence.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is a criminal offense carrying a penalty from six months to eight years’ imprisonment. In the first half of the year, 28 cases of sexual harassment were reported. Observers believed incidents of sexual harassment were underreported.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; to manage their reproductive health; and to have the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence.
Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for women and men. The law stipulates equal pay for men and women and provides for equal access to employment, credit, pay, owning or managing a business, education, the judicial process, marriage, divorce, child custody, and housing. Despite legal provisions for equal pay, inequities still existed.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from the parents with certain limitations. A child is granted citizenship at birth, provided that at the time of birth the child’s mother and father were citizens, one of the child’s parents was a citizen and the child was born on the territory of the country, or one of the child’s parents was a citizen while the other parent was unknown and/or of unknown citizenship and the child was born in a foreign country. Naturalization is also possible.
Child Abuse: In the first half of the year, according to law enforcement authorities, there were 695 cases of domestic violence and 268 cases of parental negligence and child abuse.
There were 10 crisis centers for youth, with a combined capacity to accommodate 86 children. The government allowed children to stay at these centers until they reached the age of 21, if they were still in school.
Early and Forced Marriage: The minimum age for marriage is 18. Centers for social service can approve marriage of a person under the age of 18, together with the approval of parents or legal guardians. Child marriage occurred within the Romani community, but it was not a widespread problem.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Statutory rape carries a sentence of three months to eight years, and the law sets the minimum age of consent for sexual relations at 15. If the government finds the victim to be especially vulnerable, the minimum sentence is five years, and the maximum, 15 years. If the perpetrator is a teacher, the penalty is from three to eight years in prison. The government generally enforced the law.
In the first half of the year, authorities received reports of 59 criminal acts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 15. Children from Slovenia, neighboring countries, other European countries, and the Dominican Republic were subjected to sex trafficking within the country.
The law penalizes the possession, sale, purchase, or propagation of child pornography, and the government enforced the law effectively. The penalty for violations ranges from six months to eight years in prison.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
There were approximately 300 Jews in the country. Jewish community representatives reported some prejudice, ignorance, and false stereotypes of Jews propagated within society, largely through public discourse. There were no reports of anti-Semitic violence or overt discrimination.
The government promoted antibias and tolerance education in primary and secondary schools, and the Holocaust was a mandatory topic in the history curriculum.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, the judicial system, and the provision of other government services. The government generally enforced these provisions. The law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities, but modification of public and private structures to improve access continued at a slow pace, and some buildings were not accessible. The government continued to implement laws and programs to provide persons with disabilities with access to buildings, information, and communications. The law provides social welfare assistance and early-childhood, elementary, secondary and vocational education programs for children with disabilities. It also provides vocational and independent living resources for adults with disabilities.
The constitution and law provide special rights and protections to indigenous Italian and Hungarian minorities, including the right to use their own national symbols and to have access to bilingual education. Each of these minorities has the right to representation as a community in parliament. The Romani community also benefits from protections under the constitution and law, which ensure Romani representation in 20 municipalities around the country but no designated seats in parliament. A 2014 European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) report on the country stated that the government should review the Law Implementing the Principle of Equal Treatment to verify that it functions effectively as comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation. A 2015 Amnesty International report stated that the majority of Roma continued to experience discrimination and some faced eviction from their settlements due to municipal plans to develop the land on which they resided.
There were an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 Roma in the country, approximately 0.5 percent of the entire population. Discrimination against socially marginalized Roma persisted. Organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community noted that the exclusion of Roma from the housing market remained a problem. Many Roma lived apart from other communities in illegal settlements lacking basic utilities, such as electricity, running water, sanitation, and access to transportation.
Government officials emphasized that the illegality of settlements remained the biggest obstacle to providing Roma access to adequate housing, water, and sanitation. Under the law only owners or persons with another legal claim to land, such as legal tenants, may obtain public services and infrastructure, such as water, electricity, and sanitation. Lacking alternatives for resettlement, Roma were also vulnerable to forced evictions and discrimination. The government resolved such cases through dialogue with the Romani community. In September the government allocated 30,000 euros ($33,000) to provide drinking water (via cisterns) to three Romani settlements, providing a temporary solution to a systemic problem. A government-established commission to safeguard Roma continued to function. The commission included representatives from the Romani community, municipalities, and the government.
Police conducted annual training for both officers and civilians to sensitize them to the problems of working in a multicultural environment. Representatives of the Romani community participated in the program, which improved communication between police and individual Roma. The police force trained several officers in the Romani language and continued preparing a Slovenian-Romani dictionary.
Official statistics on Romani unemployment and illiteracy were not available. Organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community and officials employed in schools with large Romani student populations unofficially reported that high unemployment and illiteracy rates among Roma remained a problem. The government supported a project that trained 12 Romani health coordinators who engaged with Roma about public health issues and access to the health-care system. The project also established a Regional Council for the Health of Roma and included representatives from community health and social centers, municipalities, the Romano Veseli Association, and the National Institute for Public Health.
While education for children is compulsory through grade nine, school attendance and completion rates by Romani children remained low. Poverty, discrimination, lack of parental and familial permission or support, and language differences continued to be the main barriers to the participation of Romani children in educational programs. The Ministry of Education, Science, and Sport financed a variety of programs to support Romani families and their children. The government supported a financial literacy project to help equip Roma with improved financial management skills and provide increased awareness of consumer services.
Although segregated classrooms are illegal, a number of Roma reported to NGOs that their children attended segregated classes and that school authorities selected them disproportionately to attend classes for students with special needs. A few educators confirmed that in some cases these groups consisted almost entirely of Romani students and pointed to the practice as de facto segregation. The European Social Fund, working in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Science, and Sport, funded 22 Romani educators to work with teachers and parents. According to the ministry, these educators had a positive effect on helping Romani children stay in school.
The government concluded the final year of a five-year national action plan of measures to improve educational opportunities, employment, and housing for Roma and started developing a new five-year national action plan. NGOs and community group representatives reported some prejudice, ignorance, and false stereotypes of Roma persisted within society, propagated largely through public discourse.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
While the law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, societal discrimination was widespread. With only one team of doctors performing gender reassignment surgery, transgender persons often chose to seek treatment at private clinics abroad due to lengthy wait times at home. Some reported difficulties in accessing hormone therapies and scheduling second opinion medical appointments.
According to a 2014 survey, almost 50 percent of gay and lesbian respondents reported experiencing homophobic violence at least once. The law considers crimes against LGBTI persons to be hate crimes and prohibits incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation. In 2015, two LGBT rights NGOs conducted a survey on the needs of transgender persons in the country. The results indicated that 48 percent of respondents experienced discrimination on a daily basis due to their sexual identity.
In May the government adopted a new civil unions act that replaced the 2005 act on the registration of same-sex civil partnerships. The new legislation provides equality to gay couples, except for adoptions, in-vitro fertilization, and use of the term “marriage.” Same-sex partners have the right not to testify against their partners in court and have prison and hospital visitation rights. They are eligible to receive social benefits, such as unemployment insurance and survivor pensions, through their partners and the right to paid leave in the event of the partner’s death.
The Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunities; NGOs; and law enforcement authorities recorded but did not track the exact number of cases of violence against LGBTI persons. According to LGBTI sources, 90 percent of victims did not report such cases. In 2014 the ECRI found that hate speech on the internet increased, with LGBTI persons being one of the main targets. According to an NGO specializing in LGBTI rights, 49 percent of LGBTI individuals had at least once experienced violence or discrimination based on their sexual orientation; approximately 44 percent of these experienced violence or bullying in schools.