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Why was the practice needed?

Due to a delay in Slovenia’s implementation of the EU equality directives, the Slovenian national equality body, the Advocate of the Principle of Equality, was only established in 2016. In the meantime, there was a persistent lack of data on discrimination in Slovenia.

The only accessible data on discrimination in Slovenia came from Eurobarometer surveys, which showed a gradual increase in discrimination throughout the years. Whereas in 2009 around 16% of respondents felt targeted by discrimination, in 2015 this figure increased to 21%. There were no comprehensive and comparable Slovenia-specific data on the different grounds of discrimination across different areas of life before this survey.

The survey on the perceptions and experiences of discrimination in Slovenia was one of the very first substantial activities carried out by newly-established office of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality. The Advocate of the Principle of Equality first had to examine the current situation on discrimination in Slovenia. The survey results allowed the Advocate to set priorities for its operations and assess current needs with respect to the prevention of discrimination and the promotion of equality in the country. Only then could it adequately address these needs and initiate targeted awareness-raising campaigns on equality and non-discrimination.

This national survey established the first evidence base on discrimination in Slovenian society.

How was it implemented?

At the end of 2017, the Advocate of the Principle of Equality conducted a survey on discrimination in Slovenia. The survey consists of two parts: a ‘public opinion poll’ gauging perceptions of discrimination among the general population; and a second section capturing the experiences of discrimination among the public.

The survey was carried out by the Institute for Market Research and Media, Mediana. The sample frame was the population of the Republic of Slovenia aged between 15 to 75 years. A sample of 1011 people were surveyed. The sample is representative of the Slovenian population by gender, age, region and level of education. Researchers collected data in the second half of October and early November 2017. The perceptions section of the survey included a range of questions addressed to the general population that capture their understanding of discrimination, awareness of anti-discrimination measures, and perception of the prevalence of discrimination. This included the identity of the victims and perpetrators of discrimination.

In the experiences section of the survey, respondents are asked to indicate whether they have been the target of discrimination in the past 12 months. Respondents were also given the opportunity to report the areas in which they experienced discriminatory treatment and the ground of discrimination. In addition, the survey asked whether and to whom alleged victims of discrimination reported the incident. They were also asked their reasons for not reporting.

During the drafting process of the survey questionnaire researchers held non-formal consultations with representatives of civil society organisations. A survey on discrimination in Croatia carried out by the Ombudsman of the Republic of Croatia served as best practice during the design of the questionnaire. The survey spans the discrimination grounds of gender, nationality, racial or ethnic origin, language, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, social status, property status, education, or any other personal circumstance. The areas of life covered by the survey are employment; career and working conditions; membership and inclusion in workers’ or employers’ organisations; social protection, including social security and healthcare; social benefits; education; and access to goods and services available to the public, including housing.

Outputs

  • The results of the survey were published in the annual report (available in English) of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality as well as on the institution’s website in April 2018 also posted on its webpage. The annual report was presented to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, all the ministers, relevant governmental bodies and civil society organisations. The results shine a light on the general public’s perceptions of discrimination and their experiences of discrimination. The findings showed a lack of awareness about the principle of equality in Slovenian society and also a considerable lack of understanding of the concept of discrimination.
  • On the basis of these findings, the Advocate of the Principle of Equality engaged in awareness-raising about discrimination and equality, with a special emphasis on disseminating information about discrimination complaint procedures.
  • In 2018, the Advocate initiated extensive structured dialogue with civil society organisations. Facebook and Twitter accounts were set up to make communication with users more accessible, and allow fast and direct responses to their queries.
  • Leaflets containing key information about the work of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality were also disseminated to all key public and private stakeholders.
  • In 2019, the Advocate of the Principle of Equality organised field trips to various Slovenian regions with the purpose of visiting major public institutions, civil society organisations and enterprises. It provided legal service ‘on the spot’, allowing people to file complaints and talk directly to advisors.
  • The Advocate also carried out press conferences in 2019.
  • The web page of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality has been redesigned to make it more easy to file a complaint and understand the core activities, including anonymous cases of discrimination.

Key success factors

  • The survey on discrimination previously carried out by the Ombudsman of the Republic of Croatia provided a good starting point for the development of this survey.
  • Consultations with representatives of civil society organisations further helped to improve the design of the questionnaire.

Technical information

  • Data sources covered: Household or individual surveys.
  • Areas of life covered: Employment; Education; Health; Social Protection; Housing and living conditions; Access to good and services.
  • Target audience: Policy-makers, state administration, European and international institutions dealing with discrimination, Slovenian general public.
  • Duration: October 2017- November 2017, published in April 2018
  • Geographical scope: National
  • Leading institution: Advocate of the Principle of Equality (Slovenian national equality body)
  • Other organisations involved/consulted: The survey was carried out by the Institute for Market Research and Media, Mediana
  • Financial & human resources: Budget: €23,509.40; Source of the budget: Advocate for the Principle of Equality

Contacts

The Advocate of the Principle of Equality / Zagovornik načela enakosti

Nevenka Prešlenkova

Email: nevenka (dot) preslenkova (at) zagovornik-rs (dot) si