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Knowledge leads to less violence against women and girls

Simbolna slika: roka stiska glavo Barbike

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is commemorated on 25 November, the Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina sees the solution to make progress on this issue arising from, among other things, the enhanced education of children and young people. "Many children and young people live in the environments where the understanding of violence is still wrapped in misogynist jokes and where hurtful words still find their place in everyday communication. The environment of many young people is also the Internet, where images are frequently distorted and damaging for their development. The Internet may also be a place of various forms of abuse. Respect for human dignity is the basis of all human rights and can also be the starting point for raising awareness about violence against women and girls," Ombudsman Svetina highlighted.

The Ombudsman is certain that violence against women and girls can only be curbed with an ongoing empowerment of women and girls and the education of men and boys about their relationship towards women and girls. "The examples set to the younger generation define their way of thinking about gender, respect and human rights. Discussions about roles in society must start at an early age and attention needs to be drawn to stereotypes. The culture of acceptance must be encouraged and it’s necessary to let young people know that it’s all right to be different," the Ombudsman stressed. It is mandatory to have an honest discourse with young people about consent in relationships and about responsibility and to listen to what they have to say about their experiencing of the world. "The fact is that influence over the opinions of young people is taken over by peers or idols at a certain period, so it’s urgent to equip them with information that enhances the integrity of girls and boys and communicate that violence isn’t cool," the Ombudsman emphasised.

The support for victims of violence in proceedings and ongoing training of employees in competent authorities that deal with violence are crucial for preventing and addressing violence. The role of various institutions, non-governmental organisations and individuals who do not leave victims to suffer alone in their distress is indispensable in the prevention of violence or the rehabilitation of its consequences. The Ombudsman thus expects the responsible state authorities to provide suitable conditions for the work of these institutions and organisations to help those in need. He also encourages them to design protocols as per the GREVIO recommendations for a suitable institutional response and direct the efforts relating to training. "It’s vital to draft strategies for preventing and addressing violence against women, which must be based on suitably collected data on the prevalence of violence and its causes," the Ombudsman clarified.