National frameworks to address hate crime in Slovenia

This page provides information on the national frameworks to address hate crime in Slovenia. The information provided here should be viewed alongside data presented on Slovenia's hate crime report page.

Hate crime recording and data collection

Slovenian police record data on certain types of criminal offences, notably the criminal offence of public incitement to hatred, violence or intolerance (article 297 of the Criminal Code), according to criminalistics designations that are broken down by bias motivations. An individual criminal offence could be tied to one or more criminalistics designations, and in some cases one criminal offence may be placed into two or more categories.

The following bias motives are recorded by Slovenian police: political intolerance, racial and ethnic intolerance, sexual discrimination, discrimination against social classes, and religious intolerance. Specifically, in case of the offence perpetrated under Article 297 of the Criminal Code (Public Incitement of Hatred, Violence or Intolerance), the following criminalistic codes are used for the purposes of the criminal investigation: encouragement and incitement of hatred, violence or intolerance based on nationality, "race", religion or ethnicity, gender, skin colour, origin, financial status, education, social position, political or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or any other personal circumstances. Police share hate crime data with civil society organizations based on a co-operation agreement.

The Supreme State Prosecutor's Office (SSPO) is responsible for collecting prosecutorial data, but the data are not disaggregated by bias motivation. A special SSPO working group of prosecutors provides expertise on the criminal offence of public incitement to hatred, violence or intolerance, with the aim of unifying prosecutorial practice and building the capacity of prosecutors to handle such offences. The working group expanded its scope of activity in 2021 and was transformed into the Working Group on Hate Crimes. It has also dealt with recording (marking the case files) and monitoring hate-motivated criminal offences. The case files of such criminal offences are not defined by the personal characteristics of the victim and can only be marked as "motivated by hatred".

 The SSPO working group has developed the following definition of hate crime: "A hate crime is an offence committed because of hatred against another person, based on victim's nationality, race, religion or ethnic origin, sex, skin colour, origin, social status, disability or sexual orientation." Following a decree issued by the Prosecutor General in 2020, files on criminal acts containing a "hate element" in line with the working group's definition need to be specifically marked with 'SOV' ("hate").

When the case is initially opened, a special marking is made by the head of the Prosecutor's office. A more detailed policy or guidance document does not exist, however.

No specific hate crime monitoring mechanism is in place in Slovenia. An annual report on the performance of the Prosecutor's Office provides statistics on serious violent crimes and developments related to the criminal offence of public incitement to hatred, violence or intolerance. The prosecution co-operates with the police on hate crime data collection.

The Slovenian judiciary does not collect data on the motives of criminal offences.

Slovenia does not conduct victimization surveys that include questions on hate crime.

Hate crime victim support

Slovenia offers hate crime victim support as part of its general victim support scheme. Support and counselling to crime victims are provided as special services by social services centres. In addition, special victim support services were established within the district courts of Ljubljana and Maribor. The service is tasked with ensuring that victims are treated with respect, and to facilitate communication between judges and victims (such as by explaining victims their rights and making arrangements to prevent unnecessary contact with the perpetrators).

Additionally, certain forms of support services are provided by civil society organizations (CSOs), which offer free legal, financial, and psychosocial assistance to the crime victims. Some CSOs have branch offices in major cities, whereas the others are only present in the capital. CSOs receive funding from the national budget, municipal budgets, private funds, and voluntary contributions, among other sources. There are no specialized support services for victims of hate crime. Support service providers (employees of the social services centres and CSOs) occasionally undertake training and awareness-raising courses on hate crime-related issues.

Similar to victims of other crimes and in accordance with the Law on Social Services, hate crime victims are entitled to professional support and professional advice provided to persons who have been directly harmed by a criminal act of any kind, including information, guidance, and recognition of their situation. The support is provided by the social services centres.

There is a mandatory individual needs assessment (INA) procedure in place, which includes information on a potential bias motivation. The INA should be conducted by a police officer or a public prosecutor using a specific INA form. State prosecutors receive regular training on the needs of particularly vulnerable victims. However, the legal status of hate crime victims does not differ from that of other crime victims and all crime victims receive similar treatment within the criminal procedure.

Social services centres may be consulted in the process of an INA. The assessment should be updated accordingly in case its elements change significantly. The state prosecutor should prepare and update the INA during the course of pre-trial and criminal proceedings, or if the injured party has filed a criminal complaint with the state prosecutor's office.

The principles of sensitive and respectful treatment are regulated by the Police Tasks and Powers Act; the Criminal Procedure Act also requires respectful and careful treatment of vulnerable victims by all participants in the procedure.

During different stages of the criminal procedure, the police can direct victims to the relevant authorities or CSO support providers. The following special protective measures may be offered to victims: interviewing by the same person or a person of the same gender; giving testimony with the assistance of an expert; the use of audio-visual equipment; adapted premises for interviewing; the use of a screen during proceedings; making the victim anonymous during the process and in the court file; and the exclusion of the public from the main proceedings. Crime victims, including hate crime victims, may be accompanied by a person of their choice during proceedings. Victims are entitled to information about the detention or release of the perpetrator, as well as to relevant information on their rights and the legal procedure, etc.

Victims can claim compensation. Social services centres may be actively involved in the settlement procedure of cases involving perpetrators who are minors; otherwise, the probations service is involved. The public prosecutor may defer the prosecution of a criminal offence if the perpetrator pays a contribution to a public institution, a compensation fund for victims, or to a CSO.

A hate crime victim (injured party) is entitled to examine and copy case files and inspect the material evidence. During the investigation, the injured party also has the right to draw attention to all facts and present the evidence, including information to establish a criminal offence, identify the perpetrator(s), and determine the pecuniary claims of the injured party. At the main hearing, the victim is entitled to present evidence, pose questions to the accused person(s), witnesses and expert witnesses, comment on and clarify their testimonies, as well as make other statements and motions. The hate crime victim can submit a motion to enforce a pecuniary claim in criminal proceedings, which may also include the emotional harm suffered. In case the data collected in criminal proceedings do not provide a reliable basis for either full or partial adjudication, the injured party will be directed to seek full satisfaction of their claim in a civil action.

For criminal offences punishable by a fine or a sentence of imprisonment of up to three years, restorative justice solutions are available, such as a settlement procedure and deferment of the criminal prosecution, provided that the suspect is willing to act in accordance with the state prosecutor's instructions and perform certain tasks to reduce or remove the harmful consequences of the criminal offence.

Hate crime capacity building

The Judicial Training Centre, which functions under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice, is by law responsible for the continuous training of judges and state prosecutors. Some trainings are undertaken with the participation of representatives of other professional groups (including lawyers, state attorneys, police officers, and social workers, among others), depending on the subject and goals of the training.