Last updated: July 2017
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Summary of law reform necessary to achieve full prohibition

Law reform has been achieved in Slovenia. Corporal punishment of children is prohibited in all settings, including the home. 

Legality of corporal punishment

Home

Corporal punishment is prohibited in the home. Law No. 542-08/16-9/2.6 Amending and Supplementing the Law on Prevention of Family Violence (ZPND-A) was passed by the National Assembly on 25 October 2016; it prohibits violence in the family and includes corporal punishment of children in the definition of violence (article 3). Article 4 explicitly prohibits corporal punishment of children, inserting a new article 3a into the existing law, which states (unofficial translation): “(1) Corporal punishment of children is prohibited. (2) Corporal punishment of children is any physical, cruel or degrading punishment of children or any other act with the intention to punish children, containing elements of physical, psychological or sexual violence or neglect as an educational method.” The law also requires funds to be allocated from the national budget for training in the field of violence, particularly violence against children, and to finance positive parenting programmes (article 14).

Prior to reform, the Law on Marriage and Family Relations 2004, obliged parents to ensure their children’s successful physical and mental development (art. 4) and to support, care for and educate their children (art. 103) – there was no confirmation of a “right” or “duty” to correct or punish children, but neither was there an explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in childrearing.

Provisions in the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence 2008 were not interpreted as prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment. The Criminal Code 2008 introduced the new criminal offence of family violence (art. 191) – “whoever within a family mistreats another person, beats her/him, or in any other way treats her/him painfully or degradingly, threatens with direct attack on her/his life or limb to throw her/him out of the joint residence or in any other way limits her/his freedom of movement, stalks her/him, forces her/him to work or give up her/his work, or in any other way puts her/him in a subordinate position by aggressively limiting her/his equal rights shall be sentenced to imprisonment for up to five years”[1] – but this was also not interpreted as prohibiting all corporal punishment of children.

In 2004, the Government stated its intention to consider an explicit prohibition of corporal punishment of children within the family. In 2008, a number of government officials signed the Council of Europe petition against all corporal punishment of children. The National Programme on Family Violence Prevention 2009-2014 includes the prohibition and elimination of corporal punishment through law reform and other measures.[2] In 2012, a Family Code Bill, article 7 of which would have prohibited corporal punishment of children by parents and all other persons, was rejected by voters. A conservative group called the “Civil Initiative for the Family and the Rights of Children” opposed the provisions in the Bill relating to same-sex partnerships and gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the law. The referendum was held on 25 March 2012: voter turnout was 30.31%, 54.55% of which voted against the law.

A complaint was brought against Slovenia by the Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH) Ltd, under the collective complaints procedure of the European Committee of Social rights.[3] The complaint alleged that, in breach of the European Social Charter, there is no explicit and effective prohibition of all corporal punishment of children, in the family, schools and other settings, and that Slovenia has failed to act with due diligence to eliminate such punishment in practice. The complaint was registered by the Committee in February 2013; it was declared admissible on 2 July 2013. The Committee published its decision in May 2015: it found that the situation in Slovenia is not in conformity with article 17 of the Charter because there is no “express and comprehensive prohibition on all forms of corporal punishment of children”.[4]

In June 2013, the Government reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child that the child protection parts of the Family Code Bill had not been contested – the Bill had been rejected because of the part concerning same sex marriages – and that the Government still hopes that the new Family Code, including prohibition of all corporal punishment, would be adopted soon.[5] In September 2013, the Ombudsman reported that the intention is to draft a new family law in 2014.[6] In reporting to the Universal Periodic Review in 2014, the Government stated that the Family Code due for adoption in 2015 would include a full ban on corporal punishment.[7] In March 2015, the Government reported to the Human Rights Council that “prohibition will be part of the revision of the Family Code that is under preparation”.[8]

 

Alternative care settings

Corporal punishment is prohibited in all alternative care settings under Law No. 542-08/16-9/2.6 Amending and Supplementing the Law on Prevention of Family Violence (ZPND-A) (see under “Home”). The Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs has confirmed that while the law relates specifically to family violence, article 3a which prohibits corporal punishment of children is general in its application to all settings, and so prohibition is absolute.

Prior to this reform, there was no reference to corporal punishment or related matters in the Provision of Foster Care Act 2002 or in the Rules on the Conditions and Procedures for Implementing Foster Care 2003.

 

Day care

Corporal punishment is prohibited in all day care settings under Law No. 542-08/16-9/2.6 Amending and Supplementing the Law on Prevention of Family Violence (ZPND-A) (see under “Home”). The Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs has confirmed that while the law relates specifically to family violence, article 3a which prohibits corporal punishment of children is general in its application to all settings, and so prohibition is absolute.

Prior to this reform, corporal punishment was considered unlawful in educational day care centres and residential school institutions under the rules relating to schools (see under “Schools”), but there was no explicit prohibition in other early childhood care and in day care for older children. The Kindergarten Act 1996 does not prohibit corporal punishment.

 

Schools

Corporal punishment is unlawful in schools. The Law on Primary Schools 1996 is silent on the issue of corporal punishment, stating only that the rights and duties of students and matters concerning discipline shall be determined by the Minister (art. 59). The Regulations on rights and responsibilities in primary school 2004[9] explicitly state that corporal punishment is not allowed (art. 34).

With regard to secondary education, the Law on Gymnasiums 1996, which regulates general education and technical secondary schools, does not include corporal punishment among permitted measures for dealing with disciplinary violations (art. 27), though it does not explicitly prohibit it. Similarly, the Law on Vocational Education and Training 2006 makes no provision for corporal punishment among permitted disciplinary measures (art. 56). The Rules of behaviour for upper secondary schools 2004[10] state that students have the right to protection from all forms of violence in school (art. 2) and do not include corporal punishment among the specified measures for dealing with violations of school rules (art. 32).

 

Penal institutions

Corporal punishment is unlawful as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions under the Constitution 1991 and the Criminal Code 2008 but there is no explicit prohibition. The Rules on the Implementation of Education Measures in the Juvenile Detention Centre 2000, the Rules on the Enforcement of the Sentence of Imprisonment 2000 and the Law Amending the Law on Enforcement of Penal Sanctions 2008 do not provide for corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure, though they do not explicitly prohibit it.

 

Sentence for crime

Corporal punishment is unlawful as a sentence for crime. It is not a permitted sentence under the Criminal Code 2008 and the Act on Offences 2002.

 

Universal Periodic Review of Slovenia’s human rights record

Slovenia was examined in the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2010 (session 7). The following recommendations were made:[11]

“To adopt the latest draft amendments to the Marriage and Family Relations Act that equalize same-sex unions and other family unions and ban the corporal punishment of children (Norway)

“To add a provision to the Marriage and Family Relations Act prohibiting other forms of the demeaning treatment of children, such as psychological violence (Norway)”

In accepting the recommendations, the Government stated that the draft Family Code adopted by the Government in December 2009 and submitted to the National Assembly prohibits corporal punishment and is binding on parents and other persons, state bodies, and public officials.[12] The mid-term report on the implementation of the recommendations, dated March 2012, notes that the Family Code Bill was adopted by the National Assembly in June 2011. (As noted above, this Bill was rejected by referendum in 2012.)

Examination in the second cycle took place in 2014 (session 20). In its report to the UPR, the Government stated that the Family Code due for adoption in 2015 would include a full ban on corporal punishment.[13] During the review, the following recommendations were made:[14]

“Continue to strengthen normative frameworks for the protection of children from violence and abuse, and develop awareness-raising programs aimed at educating the public about the harmful effects of corporal punishment and enhancing capacities of educators and the media to promote good practices and more positive methods of child-rearing (Philippines);

“Ensure that legislation is drafted and enacted to prohibit all corporal punishment of children, including in the home (Sweden);

“Legally prohibit the abhorrent practice of corporal punishment against children, and adopt an Integral Law on Children, which compiles the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of));

“Explicitly prohibit in national legislation corporal punishment in all settings, including at home (Austria)”

The Government accepted the recommendations, within the category of those it considers already implemented or in the process of implementation, and stated “prohibition will be part of the revision of the Family Code that is under preparation”.[15]

 

Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations

Session 063 (2013)

(8 July 2013, CRC/C/SVN/CO/3-4, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, paras. 37 and 38)

"The Committee reiterates its previous concern about the absence of a legal prohibition of corporal punishment within the home (CRC/C15/Add.230, para 40). While welcoming the enactment of the Family Violence Protection Act in 2008, the Committee regrets that the law prohibits only physical violence and only within the family. The Committee is also concerned that corporal punishment in penal institutions, although unlawful as a disciplinary measure under the Constitution and Criminal Code, is not explicitly prohibited. Similarly, the Committee notes with concern that, although corporal punishment is unlawful in educational day-care centres and residential school institutions, it is not explicitly prohibited in other forms of alternative care.

"The Committee recommends that the State party explicitly prohibit in its national legislation corporal punishment in all settings including at home and amend the Criminal Code as well as the Foster Care Act. This should be undertaken with the objective of prohibiting corporal punishment in penal institutions as well as in all forms of alternative care. It is recommended that the State party strengthen its efforts to address corporal punishment, in particular within the family, by launching awareness-raising programmes, including campaigns on positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing, and promote alternative non-violent forms of discipline to corporal punishment."

Read more from Session 063 (2013)

Session 035 (2004)

(26 February 2004, CRC/C/15/Add.230, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 40 and 41)

"The Committee is concerned that there is no legislation explicitly prohibiting corporal punishment within the home and that the latest draft amendments to the Marriage and Family Relations Act do not envisage such a prohibition.

"The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to address ill-treatment of children in the family, including by raising awareness of alternative non-violent forms of discipline through public campaigns. The Committee also urges the State party to consider introducing an explicit prohibition on corporal punishment of children in the family, either in the draft amendments to the Marriage and Family Relations Act or in the special act on preventing violence in the family currently in preparation."

Read more from Session 035 (2004)

Committee Against Torture, Concluding Observations

CAT session 046 (2011)

(20 June 2011, CAT/C/SVN/CO/3, Concluding observations on third report, para. 15)

"While noting the legal and administrative measures undertaken by the State party to combat gender-based violence and violence against children, the Committee remains concerned about the prevalence of violence against women and girls (see concluding CAT/C/SVN/CO/3 5 observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW/C/SVN/CO/4, para. 23). The Committee is also concerned that corporal punishment of children remains lawful at home (arts. 2, 12 and 16).

The Committee recommends that the State party enhances its efforts to prevent, prosecute and punish all forms  of violence against women and children, including domestic violence, and ensure effective and full implementation of the existing laws and the national strategies adopted to that end, including the National Programme of Family Violence Prevention for the period 2009–2014. The Committee also recommends that the State party accelerate the adoption of the draft Marriage and Family Act, which prohibits corporal punishment of children in the home (see concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/15/Add.230, para. 40). Furthermore, the State party is encouraged to conduct broader awareness-raising campaigns and training on domestic violence for law enforcement agencies, judges, lawyers and social workers who are in direct contact with the victims and for the public at large."

Read more from CAT session 046 (2011)

Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations

HRC session 116 (2016)

([April 2016], CCPR/C/SVN/CO/3 advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third report, paras. 29 and 30)

“The Committee notes that the proposed amendments to the Family Code to prohibit corporal punishment was rejected in a referendum in 2012, and expresses concern that corporal punishment is not explicitly prohibited in the State party (arts. 7 and 24).

“The State party should take practical steps, including through legislative measures, to put an end to corporal punishment in all settings. It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment, and should conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects.”

Read more from HRC session 116 (2016)

European Committee of Social Rights, Concluding Observations

2015

(January 2016, Conclusions 2015)

“In its decision on the merits of 5 December 2014 of the Complaint No. 95/2013 Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH) Ltd v. Slovenia, §51,  the Committee noted that the provisions of the Family Violence Prevention Act and the Criminal Code prohibited serious acts of violence against children, and that national courts sanctioned corporal punishment provided it reaches a specific threshold of gravity. However, none of the legislation referred to by the Government set out an express and comprehensive prohibition on all forms of corporal punishment of children that is likely to affect their physical integrity, dignity, development or psychological well-being. Furthermore, there was nothing to establish that a clear prohibition of all corporal punishment of children had been set out in the case-law of national courts.

“The Committee notes in this regard from the report that the Slovenian Government is convinced that the national legislation in force protects children against violence, negligence or exploitation, as stipulated by Article 17 of the Charter. Corporal punishment of children is, according to the case law, one of the modes of committing the criminal offence of domestic violence.

“According to the report, the Government also believes that the explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in the national legislation alone does not and cannot provide children with adequate protection against violence. The system-wide regulation of the prevention of violence against children in Slovenia represents a much broader spectrum of the prohibition of violence against children, including a ban on corporal punishment, irrespective of the motive.

“The Committee further notes that at the request of international organisations (the United Nations, the Council of Europe), the Slovenian Government inserted an explicit ban on the corporal punishment of children in the proposed Family Code, which was adopted by the National Assembly on 16 June 2011. However, the Family Code was rejected at a referendum on 25 March 2012.

“The Committee considers that the situation which it has previously found not to be in conformity with the Charter has not changed. Therefore, the Committee reiterates the previous finding of non-conformity on the ground that not all forms of corporal punishment are prohibited in the home.

“The Committee concludes that the situation in Slovenia is not in conformity with Article 17§1 of the Charter on the ground that not all forms of corporal punishment are prohibited in the home.”

Read more from 2015

Prevalence/attitudinal research for Slovenia in the last 10 years

None identified. 

Footnotes

[1] 16 June 2014, CEDAW/C/SVN/5-6, Fifth/sixth state party report, para. 22

[2] ReNPPND0914, paras. 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3

[3] Collective complaint No. 95/2013, Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH) Ltd v Slovenia

[4] Collective Complaint No. 95/2013, Association for the Protection of All Children (Approach) v Slovenia, Decision on the Merits, Adoption 5 December 2014, Notification 26 January 2015, Publication 27 May 2015, para. 51

[5] UNOG Summary of meeting, 6 June 2013

[6] Correspondence with the Global Initiative, 20 September 2013

[7] 10 December 2014, A/HRC/28/15, Report of the working group, para. 110

[8] 4 March 2015, A/HRC/28/15/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum, para. 4; see also 31 December 2015, CCPR/C/SVN/Q/3/Add.1, Reply to list of issues, para. 84

[9] Official Gazette 75/2004

[10] Official Gazette, 82/2004

[11] 15 March 2010, A/HRC/14/15, Report of the working group, paras. 111(8) and 111(9)

[12] 23 March 2010, A/HRC/14/15/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum

[13] 10 December 2014, A/HRC/28/15, Report of the working group, para. 110

[14] 10 December 2014, A/HRC/28/15, Report of the working group, paras. 115(113), 115(114), 115(115) and 115(116)

[15] 4 March 2015, A/HRC/28/15/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum, para. 4

Child population

361,000 (UNICEF, 2015)

National and regional advocacy for law reform

n/a

Forthcoming treaty body examinations and UPRs

Universal Periodic Review (UPR): 2019, session 34, deadline for briefing tbc

Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): 2018, session 19, deadline for exam briefing 31 January 2018

This is an automatic translation service. Extracts from laws, treaty body recommendations and Universal Periodic Review outcomes are unofficial translations.