Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape of a person, regardless of gender, including spousal rape, and domestic violence are illegal. Sexual violence is a criminal offense, and the penalty for conviction is six months’ to five years’ imprisonment. The penalty for conviction of rape is one to 10 years’ imprisonment. Police generally investigated accusations of rape, and courts generally tried accused offenders.
The penal code defines rape as an act resulting from a perpetrator coercing the survivor into sexual intercourse by force or serious threats. In April 2021, the government amended the criminal code to provide greater protection for survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence, including adoption of the “yes means yes” principle that intercourse absent explicit consent constitutes rape.
The law provides from three to 10 years’ imprisonment for conviction of committing aggravated, grievous, or particularly humiliating bodily harm. Upon receiving reports of spousal abuse or violence, police generally intervened and prosecuted offenders, but local NGOs reported that survivors of sexual violence often did not report crimes to police. NGOs claimed rape and sexual violence were problems society did not want to acknowledge making it difficult for victims to discuss or report crimes.
Local NGOs reported that police and courts did not effectively intervene in or prosecute cases of alleged domestic abuse. NGOs blamed the problem on deficient institutional cooperation; lengthy court proceedings; untrained investigators, prosecutors, and judges in matters of domestic violence; and poor information flow among authorities, institutions, and NGOs.
A network of maternity homes, safe houses, and shelters provided care to women and children who were survivors 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 historically marginalized groups.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is a criminal offense carrying a penalty if convicted of up to five years’ imprisonment. The law defines sexual harassment as 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.
Reproductive Rights: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization on the part of government authorities.
By law infertility treatment and biomedical fertilization procedures are only available for women and men living in a heterosexual marital or cohabiting relationship who are unable to become pregnant through sexual intercourse or by other treatments. Marital and cohabiting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) couples and single persons are not eligible for state-supported infertility treatment.
Infertility treatment and biomedical fertilization procedures are only available for spouses or common-law partners who are of legal age, able and prepared to perform parental duties, and mentally sound. The law does not restrict access to in vitro fertilization by a specific age but requires that women must be of an age suitable for childbirth. In vitro fertilization was not available or covered by health insurance for women aged 43 and older, forcing some women to have the procedure done in other countries.
The government provides access to sexual and reproductive health services for survivors of sexual violence; emergency contraception was available for girls and women.
Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for women and men and prohibits official discrimination in matters such as employment, housing, inheritance, nationality, religious freedom, or access to education or health care. Gender-based discrimination in employment persisted (see paragraph 7.d.
Systemic Racial or Ethnic Violence and Discrimination
The country’s constitution recognizes Hungarians (approximately 8,000 persons) and Italians (approximately 4,000 persons) as national minorities. The government also recognizes Roma (approximately 10,000 to 12,000 persons) as an ethnic minority. Other minority populations are not officially recognized, including ethnic Germans, Albanians, Bosniaks, Croatians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, and Serbs. These communities have called for the constitution to be amended to recognize them as official minorities with the right to designated parliamentary seats. Despite these calls for recognition, the Council of Europe has raised no objections to the existing legal framework for recognizing minorities in the country.
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. The human rights ombudsperson reported elderly Roma were among the most vulnerable individuals and needed additional care and support services. Many Roma lived apart from other communities in illegal settlements lacking basic utilities and services, such as electricity, running water, sanitation, and access to transportation. Authorities stated the illegality of Romani settlements remained the largest obstacle to providing adequate public housing, water, and sanitation. By law only owners or persons with other legal claims to land, such as legal tenants, may obtain public services and utilities.
NGOs called on the government to adopt measures to improve access to housing, education, and employment for Roma. Several government ministries participated in the preparation of the National Program of Measures for Roma from 2022–2030, which is designed to increase integration and improve the socioeconomic situation of Roma. A government-established commission composed of representatives from the Romani community, municipalities, and the government to safeguard the rights of Roma continued to function. Representatives of the Romani community participated in a program designed to improve communication between police and individual Roma through discrimination-prevention training. The government provided medical equipment to health-care facilities and supported programs, workshops, and educational initiatives to establish best practices for health-care professionals working in Romani communities.
Although firearm incidents are rare in the country, one person died and three were wounded in a shooting in September near Brezje, an informal Roma settlement in Novo Mesto area.
Birth Registration: A child is granted citizenship at birth if 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 or of unknown citizenship and the child was born in a foreign country. Naturalization is possible. Children born in the country to migrants and asylum seekers do not qualify for citizenship; however, their parents may file for asylum or refugee status on their behalf.
Education: Although education is compulsory through grade nine, school attendance and completion rates by Romani children remained low. Members of the NGO Council of the Roma Community stated that most Romani children begin first grade without any preschooling and a limited knowledge of the Slovenian language. Despite increased government efforts to enroll Romani children in preschool, few were enrolled. Council of the Roma Community members stated that low attendance stemmed from the negative experiences with organized education many Romani parents faced as children, leading them not to enroll their children in school.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport found preschools did not take full advantage of the ability to employ Roma assistants, with only seven applying for Roma assistant funding in the most recent call for applications for the 2022/2023 school year. The government introduced shorter kindergarten programs, through which the socialization of Roma children can be facilitated, and language skills strengthened, easing their transition to primary school. Data from the government’s 2021 report about Roma in the country, released in July, suggested the situation was better at primary schools, where 48 Roma assistants were employed.
The Center for School and Outdoor Education continued its 2016-22 project on Romani education, financed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the European Social Fund. The project helped 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, several Roma reported to NGOs their children attended segregated classes and that school authorities selected them disproportionately to attend classes for students with special needs.
Child Abuse: Child abuse is a criminal offense, and conviction carries a penalty of from three to eight years’ imprisonment. Police were active with social media campaigns and appealed to citizens to report any violence against children and other vulnerable groups.
Child, Early, and Forced Marriage: The minimum age for marriage is 18. With the approval of parents or legal guardians, centers for social service may approve the marriage of a person at age 16. Forced marriage of individuals as young as 16 occurred in the Romani community, but were not registered with the government, so numbers were difficult to confirm.
The Office for National Minorities led an ad hoc working group to eliminate forced marriages and other practices harmful to minors. The working group brought together representatives of competent ministries, the police, the prosecutor’s office, coordinators for the prevention of domestic violence, and NGOs. As part of the National Platform for Roma, in 2021 the Office for National Minorities published a manual on identifying early and forced marriages in the Roma community and on acting in these cases.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits commercial sexual exploitation, sale, grooming, offer, or procurement of children for commercial sexual exploitation, including child sex trafficking, and practices related to child pornography. Penalties for convicted child sex traffickers ranged from three to 15 years in prison. The possession, sale, purchase, or propagation of child pornography is illegal. Penalties for conviction of violations ranged from six months to eight years in prison. The government enforced the law effectively. The law prohibits sexual violence and abuse of minors and soliciting minors for sexual purposes. Conviction of statutory rape carries a sentence of three to eight years in prison. The law sets the minimum age of consent for consensual sexual relations at 15. The government generally enforced the law. Some children were also subjected to sex trafficking; however, the government did not identify any child trafficking survivors, a potential identification gap area, which concerned experts.
There were an estimated 400 persons of Jewish descent in the country. There were no known reports of antisemitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report.
Acts of Violence, Criminalization, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, or Sex Characteristics
Criminalization: No laws criminalize consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults, and there were no reports of authorities using other facially neutral laws to target LGBTQI+ persons.
Violence against LGBTQI+ Persons: There were no reports that authorities condoned or perpetrated violence against LGBTQI+ persons.
The Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunities and law enforcement authorities recorded incidents of violence against LGBTQI+ persons but did not track the number of cases. Local NGOs asserted that violence against LGBTQI+ persons was prevalent, but that survivors often did not report such incidents to police.
In June posters raising awareness about hate speech against LGBTQI+ persons were vandalized with homophobic and transphobic messages that threatened violence against LGBTQI+ persons. The Pride Parade Association said it received threats on social media that the parade would be attacked with smoke bombs and tear gas. No attacks occurred at the Pride parade.
Discrimination: The law prohibits discrimination by state and nonstate actors based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics and recognized LGBTQI+ individuals, couples, and their families. The government enforced such laws effectively, but societal discrimination was widespread. According to NGOs, transgender persons remained particularly vulnerable to societal discrimination and targeted violence.
In October the government passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples. Same-sex couples were previously only allowed to have civil unions. The vote brought the law in line with a Constitutional Court ruling in July that said the previous definition of marriage as a union of a man and a woman was discriminatory.
Availability of Legal Gender Recognition: The law permits persons to change their gender identity marker on legal and identifying documents to bring them into alignment with their gender identity. The law requires a certified statement from a competent health-care provider or medical doctor diagnosing the individual with “transsexualism,” which the National Institute of Public Health classifies as a mental disorder, and it does not allow for self-certification. There is no legal requirement for sex reassignment surgery or any other medical procedure before persons can legally change their gender identity. There are no legal provisions for a third/other gender option.
Involuntary of Coercive Medical or Psychological Practices Specifically Targeting LGBTQI+ Individuals: So-called conversion therapy is not widespread according to local NGOs. In 2012, the Slovenian Chamber of International Psychologists and the human rights ombudsman condemned so-called conversion therapy as a dangerous practice that deepens suffering and leads to stigmatization of LGBTQI+ persons.
Restrictions of Freedom of Expression, Association, or Peaceful Assembly: There were no reports that authorities restricted these freedoms of LGBTQI+ persons or organizations speaking out about LGBTQI+ issues. Multiple cities held Pride parades and other LGBTQI+ events in June and Ljubljana hosted a Festival of Gay and Lesbian Film in December without restrictions.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities; however, persons with disabilities could not access education, health services, public buildings, transportation, and information and communication on an equal basis with others. Local NGOs reported employers sometimes were prejudiced against persons with disabilities, but no cases of employment discrimination based on disability were reported during the year.
The law mandates access to buildings and public transportation for persons with disabilities, but modification of public and private structures to improve access continued at a slow pace, and some public transportation stations and buildings, particularly older buildings, were not accessible, especially in rural areas. The law provides social welfare assistance and early-childhood, elementary, secondary, and vocational education programs for children with disabilities. Children with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities are entitled to tailored educational programs with additional professional assistance and resources. Depending on their individual needs, some children attended school (through secondary school) with peers without disabilities, while others attended separate schools. The law also provides vocational and independent living resources for adults with disabilities. The government continued to implement laws and programs to provide persons with disabilities access to education, employment, health services, buildings, information, communications, the judicial system, transportation, and other state services. The government generally enforced these provisions effectively.
The electoral law requires all polling stations to be accessible to persons with disabilities. Voters with disabilities who are unable to reach a polling station on election day may also vote by mail.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
NGOs reported HIV-positive individuals often faced stigma and discrimination in access to health care. For example, the NGO Activists for the Rights of People Living with HIV and medical experts from the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Febrile Conditions reported that 90 percent of individuals living with HIV experienced discrimination in medical institutions due to their HIV status.