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 emphasises that any violence against women and girls is unacceptable and constitutes a serious violation of human rights. It is necessary to be aware that the perpetrator of violence is always responsible for the violence, regardless of what the victim said, did or did not do. "Violence is not a personal problem of an individual and is not a matter of private or family relations, but is an inadmissible and criminal act that we must not just silently observe. This is why I urge anyone who detects or notices violent behaviour in their environment to respond to it and report it. The occurrence of violence depends on how society reacts to it. If such behaviour is condemned and punished, it is reduce and stopped this way. And if it is tolerated, minimised or overlooked, the perpetrators are being given extra power," notes Ombudsman Peter Svetina.
Support for victims in proceedings is also very important for preventing and addressing violence. There is a need to promote a social environment in which victims will dare to talk about their troubles and will be heard and supported by competent institutions. "In principle, Slovenia has very well-regulated legislation on the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence. However, legislation alone is not enough, and it is important to continuously train employees who face violence. It can be observed from the processed initiatives that not all people receive the same quality of service from institutions in all cases of reported violence. For several years we have also been noticing inconsistency in various bodies regarding the implementation of measures for protecting victims and also in our work with perpetrators of violence. Employees of the police, judiciary and social work centres must work as a well-tuned orchestra so that proceedings can be speeded up and perpetrators punished for their acts," the Ombudsman notes.
The Ombudsman also welcomes the recently drafted first report of the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO), which assesses the implementation of the Istanbul Convention in Slovenia. "It is an important human rights protection mechanism that sheds light on the situation in our country and reminds us where further improvements are needed and how we still need to take action to adequately protect women from violence. I call on the competent authorities to adopt a strategy that addresses all forms of violence against women, and to examine all GREVIO recommendations and take measures to implement them as soon as possible," the Human Rights Ombudsman added on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.