Prohibition of all corporal punishment in Slovenia (2016)
The Government of the Republic of Slovenia expressed its commitment to prohibiting all corporal punishment of children in accepting clearly recommendations to do so made during the Universal Periodic Review of Slovenia in 2010, and again during its review in the second cycle in 2014. The Government had previously, in 2004, stated its intention to consider an explicit prohibition of corporal punishment of children within the family, and in 2008, a number of government officials signed the Council of Europe petition against all corporal punishment of children.
Following this, the National Programme on Family Violence Prevention 2009-2014 included the prohibition and elimination of corporal punishment through law reform and other measures, but in 2012, a Family Code Bill which included prohibition of corporal punishment of children by parents and all other persons, was rejected by voters – a conservative group opposed provisions relating to same-sex partnerships and gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the law.
In May 2015, the European Committee of Social Rights found Slovenia in breach of article 17 of the European Social Charter due to the lack of “express and comprehensive prohibition on all forms of corporal punishment of children”, following a complaint brought by the Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH) Ltd, under the Committee’s collective complaints procedure.
Prohibition of all corporal punishment of children was finally achieved on 25 October 2016 when the National Assembly passed. The new law prohibits violence in the family and includes corporal punishment of children in the definition of violence (article 3).
Article 4 inserts a new article 3a (Prohibition of corporal punishment of children) 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).
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, including in all alternative care and day care settings.
The new law enters into force on the fifteenth day following its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic Slovenia.