Slovak law criminalises rape, sexual violence, sexual abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, and procuring and soliciting prostitution.
While domestic violence is not explicitly named in the Code, s.208 refers to “battering a close person and a person entrusted in one’s care”, while s.127 specifies that “a person who lives or lived with the perpetrator in a shared household” is included as a “close person”, and “a person entrusted into one’s care”. S.208 of the Code therefore covers domestic violence, and contains a very long and specific list of prohibited forms of physical and mental suffering, including “repeated and unjustified denial of food, rest or sleep, or denial of necessary personal care, basic clothing, elementary hygiene, health care, housing, upbringing or education”.
is defined by the Criminal Code as the act of using violence, or threatening to use imminent violence, to force a woman to have sexual intercourse, or taking advantage of her helplessness to commit such an act.
Rape is therefore necessarily perpetrated against female victims, and thus distinguished from sexual violence, which can be directed towards males and females.
Marital/spousal rape and the rape of pregnant women are, inter alia, aggravated forms of rape,
and the Code specifies that a helpless person shall mean a person who owing to age, health, circumstances of the offence or circumstances on the offender’s side, had no chance of effectively defending the attack.
, on the other hand, is not criminalised under Slovakian law. However, the 2004 Anti-discrimination Act
includes a specific reference to sexual harassment since 2008 under article 1 s.2a(5): “Sexual harassment shall mean verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature whose intention or consequence is or may be a violation of a person’s dignity and which creates an intimidating, degrading, disrespectful, hostile or offensive environment.” A recent report by the European Commission indicates that the Slovak Republic was reluctant to amend its labour legislation due to “the unwillingness to accept the problem of discrimination on the grounds of sex and opinions interpreting sexual harassment as a private affair of the directly involved parties”, and that the change only occurred to comply with European Union (EU) harmonisation requirements, although the current definition is not fully compatible with EU directives.
The report also indicates that the possibility for the claimant to shift the burden of proof onto the defendant is only stipulated in the Anti-discrimination Act, and not in the Slovakian Code of Civil Procedure, thereby making it hard for victims of discrimination to succeed in court proceedings due to lack of evidence.
Despite this legal framework and the adoption of two successive National Action Plans for the Prevention and Elimination of Violence Against Women for the periods 2005-08 and 2009-12, violence against women remains a concern in the Slovak Republic. As of September 2013, Slovakian authorities had reportedly recorded 356 cases of sexual abuse, 233 cases of domestic violence, 64 reports of rape, and 51 cases of sexual violence that year alone.
Moreover, according to an EU-wide survey on violence against women in 2012, 23% of Slovakian women had experienced intimate physical and/or sexual violence by their current partner or previous partner (7.0% in the last 12 months) ; 22.0% had experienced non-partner physical and/or sexual violence (5.0% in the last 12 months); 34.0% had experienced intimate psychological violence by their current partner and 46.0% by their previous partner; 16.0% had been stalked (6.0% in the last 12 months); 36.0% indicated having experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence in their childhood; 32.0% were aware of domestic violence in their circle of friends and family; and 28.0% were aware of domestic violence in their work environment.
There is no available data on the percentage of women who agree that wife beating is justified under certain circumstances.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) expressed concern over the high rate of violence against women and girls in the Slovak Republic,
with both committees urging the country to provide sufficient and adequate shelters for female victims of violence, to sensitise authorities to all forms of violence against women, and to raise public awareness of violence against women. The CEDAW, the CAT, and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) have also expressed concern over trafficking of women and children for sexual and other exploitive purposes, as recently as 2012 (CESCR).
Despite these recommendations, Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) NGO reported in 2010 that only five shelters were specifically set up to support female victims of domestic violence and their children, and that 459 shelter places were missing to reach the target number recommended by the European Parliament.
WAVE also reported the absence of any free-of-charge 24 hour helpline for female survivors of violence, and stated that no budget had been allocated to the Action Plan for the Prevention and Elimination of Violence Against Women for the periods 200912 (the same remark was made by the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) in 2011).
According to a report published by the Slovakian Institute for Labour and Family Research in 2012, “System defects, discontinuity and legislative amendments, and relatively high turnover of personnel, as well as other factors are affecting the plight of solutions to violence against women”.
For instance, the report pointed to the limited efficiency of legal provisions enabling police officers to expel perpetrators of domestic violence from the common housing or neighbourhood for 48 working day hours,
and stated that sexual violence and abuse are only reported to police by one in four victims. Underreporting was also identified through the aforementioned EU-wide survey conducted in 2012, with only 12.0% of Slovakian women reporting the most serious incidence of intimate sexual and/or physical violence to the police, compared to 14.0% for non-partner violence, and 17.0% for stalking. The findings of the survey also indicate that 41.0% of Slovakian women are not aware of any institution or support service for violence against women.
As regards conviction rates for violence against women, the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic reported that 265 persons were convicted of rape and sexual abuse in 2011, including 73 juveniles,
while the Slovakian Institute for Labour and Family Research indicated that the conviction rate for rape averaged 27.0% between 2006 and 2011, and dropped to its lowest rate (21.0%) in 2011.
The Institute also stated that particular attention should be paid to violence against Roma women, who are excessively vulnerable due to their high rates of poverty.
The CAT expressed concern in 2009 over continued forced sterilisation practices on Romani women,
before the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) ruled against the Government of the Slovak Republic in three cases between 2011 and 2012.
Despite these rulings, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights noted in 2013 that the Government had still not recognised these illegal practices nor formulated an official apology, and therefore called on the country to ensure that all alleged cases were followed up, and that victims be given appropriate, effective and prompt compensation.
The CAT also expressed concern in 2009 over reports of internal and cross-border trafficking of Roma women and children.
Female genital mutilation is not reported to be practiced in the Slovak Republic.
Latest UN figures for the period 2008-12 indicate that 96.9% of women in the Slovak Republic were attended by skilled health personnel at least once during pregnancy.
The Government indicated in 2009 that women made insufficient visits to prenatal care services, given that antenatal mortality accounts for the largest share of perinatal deaths.
According to the UN Population Fund’s 2013 State of World Population Report, 66.0% of women aged 15-49 used some form of modern contraception,
although NGOs are concerned about the high cost of oral contraception
and lack of public subsidisation.
The Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic reported a neonatal mortality rate of 3.3 deaths per 1 000 births in 2012, along with an infant mortality rate of 5.8 deaths per 1 000 births that same year.
These figures illustrate a slight increase since 2011 (respective rates of 2.9 and 4.9).
According to the Statistical Office, the mean age at first birth in 2012 was 27.29, compared to 24.14 in 2001.
is available upon request, and in the event of threat to maternal life, rape, health concerns, foetal impairments, and for economic or social reasons.
According to the most recent national statistics, 16 377 abortions were recorded in 2012, compared to 22 792 in 2001, and the general abortion rate was 12.0 abortions per 1 000 women aged 15- 44 in 2012.
 Act 300/2005 Coll Criminal Code, s.199, s.200, s.201, s.208, s.179 and s.367 respectively  Ibid., s.199(1)  Ibid., s.200(1)  Through the combined reading of s.199(2) and s.127(5) of the Act 300/2005 Coll Criminal Code  Act 300/2005 Coll Criminal Code, s.127(7)  Act No. 365/2004 Coll. on equal treatment in certain areas and on protection against discrimination and on the amendment of certain acts (Anti-discrimination Act)  European Commission, European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Gender Equality (2011)  US Department of State (2013)  European Agency for Fundamental Rights (2014)  UNICEF (2013)  CEDAW (2008)  CESCR (2012)  WAVE (2010)  EWL (2011)  Institute for Labour and Family Research (2012)  Act No. 491/2008 Coll., amending the Police Forces Act, and Act No. 495/2009 Coll., amending the Code of Civil Procedure  European Agency for Fundamental Rights (2014)  Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic (2013)  Institute for Labour and Family Research (2012)  Ibid.  Committee Against Torture (CAT) (2009)  US Department of State  OHCHR (2013)  CAT (2009)  UNICEF (2013)  Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic to the Office of the United Nations and other International Organisations at Geneva (2009)  UNFPA (2013)  US Department of State; Center for Reproductive Rights (2011),  Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic (2013)  Ibid.  Ibid.  UN Women (2011), Annex 3  Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic (2013)