Council of Europe Report Calls for Slovenia to Do More for Vulnerable Women

By , 12 Oct 2021, 12:37 PM Politics
Council of Europe Report Calls for Slovenia to Do More for Vulnerable Women pixabay, nastya_gepp CC-by-0

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STA, 12 October 2021 - The first evaluation report on Slovenia's implementation of the Istanbul Convention, released on Tuesday, notes a number of positive measures but points out that more attention should be paid to forms of violence against women other than domestic violence. Efforts to help women from socially vulnerable groups should be boosted.

The Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) has highlighted Slovenia's significant progress "towards building a comprehensive legal, policy and institutional framework in the field of prevention of domestic violence" before and after its 2015 ratification of the convention.

The group points to improvements in legislation, including redefinitions of rape and sexual violence based on the yes-means-yes concept and criminalising stalking and forced marriage.

"The measures taken by the Slovenian authorities demonstrate their clear commitment to eliminate gender-based violence against women," said the GREVIO delegation to Slovenia.

However, the report also points out that "less policy attention, funding, and political support is directed towards other forms of violence against women covered by the convention, in particular rape, stalking, forced marriage/abortion/sterilisation and female genital mutilation".

Slovenia is hence urged to step up efforts to address all types of violence against women, particularly sexual violence. It is key the state adopts a new strategic document to improve the situation.

When it comes to vulnerable women, such as Roma and other national minorities or women with disabilities, efforts by NGOs to take into account their specific needs are lauded, but generally speaking, these women still face discrimination, says the report.

"Women victims without a permanent residence permit are of special concern, as they don't have access to safe houses," warned GREVIO, calling on Slovenia to continue with its relevant efforts, including by improving access to shelters for Roma women and migrant women without a permanent residence permit.

Moreover, efforts should be stepped up to ensure that legislative, training and awareness-raising measures to address the different forms of violence against women as a gendered phenomenon.

The report also warns that Slovenia's data collection should be improved to provide an integrated system that would cover all the forms of violence.

A stronger criminal justice response is also needed. What raises concern is "the high level of attrition rates in relation to several forms of violence against women, in particular domestic violence and rape, and the lack of effort to identify its causes".

In response to the report the Human Rights Ombudsman called on the relevant Slovenian authorities to adopt a strategy for the combat against all forms of violence against women.

The ombudsman described the report as an important mechanism for the protection of human rights which sheds light on where improvements can be made.

Noting progress identified by the report, the ombudsman also highlighted issues such as a lack of trainings and protocols that would lead to suitable institutional response, and a lack of coordination at the level of policies.

The ombudsman's office said they had established many shortcomings themselves and GREVIO representatives also met Ombudsman Peter Svetina during their visit to Slovenia.

The ombudsman called on those responsible to examine the recommendations and take measures to implement them as soon as possible.

The Association for Non-Violent Communication fully endorsed the report, its head Katja Zabukovec Kerin telling the STA that a focus in the coming years should be on specially vulnerable groups of women as well as on tackling the issue of parents' contacts with their children when violence is present.

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