Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape and domestic violence, is illegal. Sexual violence is a criminal offense and the penalty for conviction is six months’ to eight years’ imprisonment. The penalty for conviction of rape is one to 10 years’ imprisonment. Police actively investigated accusations of rape and courts tried accused offenders.
The law provides from six months’ to 10 years’ imprisonment for aggravated and grievous bodily harm. Upon receiving reports of spousal abuse or violence, police generally intervened and prosecuted offenders, but local NGOs reported that victims of sexual violence often did not report crimes to police.
There was a network of maternity homes, safe houses, and shelters for women and children who were victims of violence. The police academy offered annual training on domestic violence. Local NGOs reported women lacked equal access to assistance and support services and that free psychosocial assistance from NGOs was unavailable in many parts of the country. NGOs also reported a lack of practical training and educational programs for professionals who are legally bound to offer services to survivors of violence. NGOs highlighted the lack of systematic and continuous prevention programs for domestic violence and rape and reported there were no specialized support programs for Romani women, elderly women, or other vulnerable groups.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is a criminal offense carrying a penalty if convicted of up to three years’ imprisonment. The law prohibits sexual harassment, psychological violence, mistreatment, or unequal treatment in the workplace that causes “another employee’s humiliation or fear.” Authorities did not prosecute any sexual harassment cases during the year.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization.
Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for women and men. Despite legal provisions for equal pay, inequities persisted.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from the parents with certain limitations. A child is granted citizenship at birth if the child’s mother and father were citizens, or 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 or of unknown citizenship and the child was born in a foreign country. Naturalization is possible. Children of migrants and asylum seekers do not qualify for citizenship if they are born in Slovenia, although their parents may file for asylum or refugee status on their behalf.
Child Abuse: Child abuse is a criminal offense and conviction carries a penalty of up to three years’ imprisonment. In the first half of the year, police reported 48 cases of child abuse and 179 cases of negligence. The number of reported cases is roughly on track with 2017 cases. In October authorities closed the Kengurujcki (“Little Kangaroos”) child-care facility following allegations of child abuse. After alerting staff to the inappropriate treatment of children, a newly hired employee at “Little Kangaroos” recorded a video showing children ages 11 months to four years subjected to force-feeding and life-threatening ways to prevent toddlers from crying. The video showed a baby with her head and body tightly wrapped in sheets with a mattress on top of her. The employee showed the video to parents, and they jointly reported the case to the police. A police and educational inspectorate investigation was underway.
There were 10 crisis centers for youth, with a combined capacity for 86 children. The government allowed children to stay at these centers until they reached age 21, if they were still in school.
Early and Forced Marriage: The minimum age for marriage is 18. Centers for social service may approve marriage of a person younger than age 18, together with the approval of parents or legal guardians. Child marriage occurred within the Romani community but was not a widespread problem.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Statutory rape carries a prison sentence of one to eight years in prison. The law sets the minimum age of consent for sexual relations at 15. The government generally enforced the law.
The possession, sale, purchase, or propagation of child pornography is illegal, and the government enforced the law effectively. The penalty for conviction of violations ranged 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 https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/legal-reports-and-data.html.
There were approximately 300 Jews in the country. There were no reports of anti-Semitic violence or overt discrimination.
In November, in the city of Velenje, police arrested a juvenile for public incitement of hatred and intolerance for hanging in June of six Nazi-themed posters in public places. The president and prime minister strongly condemned the act, and the case remained pending. 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. 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–particularly older buildings–were not accessible. 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 government continued to implement laws and programs to provide persons with disabilities with access to education, employment, health services, buildings, information, communications, the judicial system, transportation, and other state services. The government generally enforced these provisions effectively.
Changes to the electoral law require all polling stations to be accessible to persons with disabilities, but the National Electoral Commission estimated that as of the presidential election in fall 2017, only 56 percent of local polling stations were accessible to persons with disabilities. In the June 3 parliamentary elections, the National Electoral Commission used seven mobile ballot boxes to provide for equal access of voters with disabilities. Voters with disabilities who are unable to reach a polling station on election day may also vote by mail.
Three officially recognized ethnic minorities live in the country: Roma (estimated at 7,000 to 11,000), Hungarians (approximately 8,000), and Italians (approximately 4,000). The approximately 2,000 ethnic Germans are not recognized as an official minority group.
Discrimination against socially marginalized Roma persisted in some parts of the country. Organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community noted that Roma faced difficulties securing adequate housing in traditional housing markets. 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. By 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.
While visiting the country in April, the UN special rapporteur on minority issues said Roma continued to be the most vulnerable community in Slovenia and called on authorities to address recurrent problems within the Romani community. He noted Romani homes were often built without permits and highlighted difficulties Roma encountered in finding employment and accessing public services.
Organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community and officials employed in schools with large Romani student populations unofficially reported that high illiteracy rates among Roma persisted. While education for children is compulsory through grade nine, school attendance and completion rates by Romani children remained low. Silvo Mesojedec, head of Novo Mesto’s Civil Initiative for Roma Issues, said less than 1 percent of inhabitants in Zabjak-Brezje (the country’s largest illegal Romani settlement with approximately 700 inhabitants) have finished primary school.
The Centre for School and Outdoor Education continued its 2016-22 project on Romani education, which the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the European Social Fund financed. The project helps Romani children succeed in the educational system through mentoring and support, including extracurricular activities and preschool education at community multipurpose centers. Although segregated classrooms are illegal, a number of Roma reported to NGOs their children attended segregated classes and that school authorities selected them disproportionately to attend classes for students with special needs.
In May the government adopted the National Program of Measures for Roma for 2017-21 to improve the Romani community through 41 specific measures, such as promoting education, employment, and social inclusion, improving health-care access, reducing poverty, and providing antidiscrimination training. The Office for National Minorities is to coordinate this program and monitor its implementation. NGOs observed that, although government consulted Romani community representatives in preparing the National Program, it focused too much on project-based initiatives and did not adequately adopt the Romani community’s suggestions to address systemic issues, such as a lack of electricity, running water, sanitation, and access to transportation.
A government-established commission to safeguard the rights of Roma continued to function. The commission included representatives from the Romani community, municipalities, and the government.
Representatives of the Romani community participated in a program that improved communication between police and individual Roma through discrimination prevention training for police officers working in Romani communities. The government provided medical equipment to health-care facilities and supported programs, workshops, and educational initiatives to provide best practices for health-care professionals working in Romani communities.
The NGO Roma Academic Club organized lectures and workshops for high school and university students on Romani culture and discrimination towards the Romani community.
In March the German-speaking community called on the government to begin the process of officially recognizing the community as a minority in the constitution. They called on the government to address fields of education in German, recognition of the minority language in radio and television programming, and the provision of funds.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law prohibits discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in housing, employment, nationality laws, and access to government services. The government enforced such laws effectively, but societal discrimination was widespread.
The law considers crimes against LGBTI persons to be hate crimes and prohibits incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation. The Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunities, as well as NGOs and law enforcement authorities, recorded incidents, but they did not track the number of cases of violence against LGBTI persons.
While the law and implementing regulations establish procedures for legal gender recognition, LGBTI NGOs maintained the provisions are too general; subject to misinterpretation; and insufficiently protect the rights to health, privacy, and physical integrity of transgender persons. For example, NGOs reported only two psychologists were authorized to provide documentation required for individuals to begin the process, which resulted in waiting times up to one year.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
NGOs reported HIV-positive individuals often faced stigma and discrimination in access to health care. For example, Activists for the Rights of People Living with HIV and medical experts from the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Febrile Conditions reported 90 percent of individuals living with HIV experienced discrimination in medical institutions due to their HIV status. In one case, an HIV-positive patient said a dentist refused to provide dental services to him due to his HIV status. This patient filed a suit against the dentist, and the court ruled the dentist did discriminate against him due to his HIV-positive status. Local activists hailed the case as a landmark ruling in legal protections of HIV-positive persons.