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COUNTRY REPORT BULGARIA December 1, 2012


Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

INTRODUCTION In 2010, a European project addressing Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization (Y-SAV) was launched. Y-SAV is a three-year project co-financed by the European Union in the framework of the Health Programme to address the issue of sexual aggression and victimization among young people. The project aims to build a multidisciplinary network of European experts in various member states, bring together the knowledge on youth sexual aggression and victimization in a state-of-the-art database, develop a more harmonised way of measuring these issues and provide recommendations for strategic action to address the problem of youth sexual aggression under different circumstances in different EU member states. This report is part of the Y-SAV knowledge base. The knowledge base presents information regarding youth sexual aggression and victimization for each EU member state. This report presents the current situation in Bulgaria regarding policies, legislation, organisations, prevalence, risk factors and evidence-based interventions in the area of youth sexual aggression and victimization. This report was compiled by the Y-SAV principal investigators at the University of Stockholm (Sweden), Rutgers WPF (The Netherlands) and the University of Potsdam (Germany).

This report arises from the project Y–SAV which has received funding from the European Union in the framework of the Health Programme.


Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTS A. B. C. D.

Government and policies ....................................................................................... 1 Legal situation ................................................................................................... 2 Institutions, organisations and services...................................................................... 4 Research on prevalance, risk factors and evidence based interventions ............................ 10


Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

A. GOVERNMENT AND POLICIES i. Ministries Until 2009 there was a State agency for Youth and Sport under the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science, dealing with youth issues. Now it is The Youth Directorate within the Ministry that is dealing with the implementation of the youth policies and programmes. Its task is to:  support the coordination between the state and the municipalities;  prepare terms for sociological and statistical studies and analysis;  coordinate the information exchange with the administrative structures and the NGOs;  prepare an Annual Youth Report. ii. Policies There is a National Youth Strategy 2010-2 (for young people between 15 and 29 years) and an Implementation Plan to summarise and coordinate the activities, programmes and implementation of the strategy. The general aim is to establish a supportive and encouraging environment for participation in the intercultural and international youth interaction and the prevention of social exclusion. There was also a National Youth Programme on Youth Information and Consulting Centres (2007-2010), designed to give young people (between 14 and 35), especially in smaller towns, more influence on the local level, and a Youth Activity Programme (2008-2010) to raise the awareness of NGO actions in the field of youth activities, gender equality, and personal development. The issue of sexual victimization does not seem to be a major subject in these plans or programmes, but one of the strategic objectivities of the Youth Strategy is to increase the role of young people in crime prevention, another to promote a healthy lifestyle. Sexual health (including sexual health of young people) is a subject of the National Health Strategy, but is emphasises on increasing awareness of family planning, reproductive health and contraception. iii. Current discussion There have not been recent debates and evaluations of legal measures in the field of rape and sexual assault. The focus in the debate is mainly on children as victims of violence, including sexual violence. One discussion has been about marital rape, which is not explicitly criminalised in Bulgarian law. Even though legal practice does not exclude prosecution for marital rape it is worth mentioning that older decisions from socialist times perceive sexual intercourse between spouses as a marital obligation. In all the cases of molestation and copulation with minors, including statutory rape, as well as general rape, and in cases of severe sexual harassment, the perpetrator shall not be punished or the ruled punishment shall not be fulfilled if up to the enforcement of the verdict a marriage between the man and the woman follows (Article 158 of the Penal Code). This ‘solution’ in cases of severe violence is a confirmation of the patriarchal ideology of the law, it goes against the right to free consent of the woman and serves the prejudices of society-shame, debauchery will be dissimulated. It also serves the perpetrator’s interests, who will be left unpunished and will be even rewarded. The common criticism, especially amongst feminists, is that the crimes against sexual integrity are regulated within an obsolete and conservative framework - the respective section of the Penal Code is called ‘Debauchery’. It reveals an obsolete, deeply stereotyped and patriarchal approach to sexual violence against women, as honour-based, shame for society, the family, and the community. The legislator’s approach only perpetrates the stereotyping and shaming of women. This is one of the reasons why women victims of such crimes feel uncomfortable reporting and seeking justice. 1

1

Tisheva, G., Report on Bulgaria, (2010). in Feasibility Study to Assess the Possibilities, Opportunities and Needs to Standardise National Legislation on Violence Against Women, Violence Against Children and Sexual Orientation Violence. European Commission, available at http://ec.europa.eu/justice/funding/daphne3/daphne_feasibility_study_2010_en.pdf 1


Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

B. LEGAL SITUATION i. Law and legal definitions Sexual autonomy and integrity, is recognised in Bulgarian law through the criminalisation of a number of crimes, including crimes against adults, regulated in Chapter Two, Section VIII of the Penal Code, called ‘Debauchery’: Rape (PC Article 152): sexual intercourse with a female who is unable to defend herself and without her consent; by force or threat of force or by bringing her into a helpless state. This act is punishable with imprisonment of two to eight years (higher punishment for aggravated rape (e.g., when the victim is under the age of 18, related to the offender, or if it is a repeat offence). The definition of rape is not gender-neutral but limited to female victims. Penetrative sexual acts with another person by using his/her employment or material dependence on him/her - imprisonment of up to three years (PC Article153). Sexual molestation - an act with the purpose of arousing or satisfying a sexual desire without penetration with a juvenile above the age of 14 by use of force or threat, by inducing or taking advantage of taking advantage of his/her helpless status by taking advantage of dependency or control - punishable by imprisonment of up to six years, in particularly severe cases the punishment shall be imprisonment of two to eight years (PC Article150). Sexual intercourse with a person above the age of 14 who does not understand the meaning of the act, shall be punished by imprisonment of up to three years (PC Article151, §3). Same-sex sexual violence - carrying out sexual intercourse or an act of sexual satisfaction with a person of the same sex by using force, threat, or exploiting a state of dependency or the person’s inability to defend him -or herself- punishable by imprisonment of two to eight years. Changes in the practice of prosecution of rape in the direction of not requiring evidence for resistance by the woman were introduced through police training and police guidelines upon the adoption of the Judgement of the ECtHR in the case of M.C. versus Bulgaria from December 2003. The legal age of consent is 14 years. Other crimes related to sexual exploitation of minors are:  persuasion of another person to prostitution or to molestation, or to copulation (Penal Code 155 Article 1);  systematical provision of premises for sexual intercourse or molestation;  persuading or compelling another person to using narcotic substances or their analogues for the purpose of prostituting, copulation, molestation or carrying out sexual intercourse or act of sexual satisfaction with a person of the same sex. If the above mentioned crimes are committed against a person less than 18 years of age they are aggravated crimes, and the most severe cases can lead to imprisonment of ten to twenty years and a fine of one hundred thousand to three hundred thousand levs. 

Provision, through the internet or in any other way, of information about a person less than 18 years of age, with the purpose to establish a contact for performing molestation, copulation, sexual intercourse, or distribution of pornographic materials (Penal Code Article 155a), or establishing contact with a person less than 14 years of age by using information provided in the Internet or in any other way in order to perform the same acts – punishable with imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of five thousand to ten thousand levs. Recruiting or compelling minors, or groups of minors, to copulation, molestation, or other perverse sexual acts, including the cases where a material benefit was received – punishable in the most severe cases with imprisonment up to eight years and a fine up to 10 000 levs (Penal Code Article 158a).

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Country Report Bulgaria, 2012



For pornography (Penal Code Article 159), (who produces, exhibits, broadcasts, offers, sells, lends, or in any other way circulates pornographic material, and who circulates pornographic material though the Internet or another similar way, who keeps or obtains for himself and for another person through a computer system or in any other way pornographic material for the creation of which a person less than 18 years of age or a person with such an appearance is used) – imprisonment of up to one year and a fine. In the most severe cases – imprisonment of two to eight years and a fine of up to ten thousand levs, and the court may rule on confiscation of the property of the offender.

There are no special protective measures available to victims of rape during the investigation/ prosecution. The victims have the status of injured persons in the penal procedure. According to Article 67 of the Penal Procedure Code, upon a proposal of the prosecutor with the consent of the injured or upon a request of the injured, the respective first-instance court may prohibit the accused to approach directly the injured. Otherwise, there are no other special measures for victims of rape during the legal proceedings. There are no specific provisions for sex offenders in terms of treatment, particular conditions for release, registration, etc. 2 ii. Official statistics According to the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics (2010) Bulgaria had 3 reported rapes per 100.000 inhabitants, both in 2005 and 2007, which are low figures. 3 According to unofficial research data, there are many unregistered cases of rape or other forms of sexual violence against women in Bulgaria. A research report of the Centre for Study of Democracy from 2005, Trends of criminality in Bulgaria: police statistics and victimology studies, states that 12.00051.000 women became victims of sexual crimes between 2001 and 2004 (2.000-10.000 per year). The fact that the higher number is more realistic is proven by the extremely low percentage of registered crimes of this type - only 10% are registered with the police, the percentage of registered other crimes being 50% as an average. According to the National Statistical Institute 36 rapes were committed in 2010 against minors and juvenile persons (of which 33 were committed against girls). 11 rapes were committed against persons between 8-13 years and 25 rapes against persons between 14-17 years. The same year 10 cases of attempted rape were reported (of which 9 were committed against girls). Two of these cases were committed against persons between 8-13 years and eight cases against persons between 14-17 years.4

2

Tisheva, G., Report on Bulgaria, (2010). In Feasibility Study to Assess the Possibilities, Opportunities and Needs to Standardise National Legislation on Violence Against Women, Violence Against Children and Sexual Orientation Violence. European Commission, available at http://ec.europa.eu/justice/funding/daphne3/daphne_feasibility_study_2010_en.pdf 3

http://europeansourcebook.org/ob285_full.pdf

4

http://www.nsi.bg/otrasalen.php?otr=50&a1=2158&a2=2180&a3=2185#cont 3


Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

C. INSTITUTIONS, ORGANISATIONS AND SERVICES i. National level On the national level there are some agencies, besides the ministries that work with youth issues, and the most important is the State Agency for Child Protection (SACP).5 SACP is working on increasing awareness on child issues and supervises the implementation of the Child Protection Act. On their website there is a special section on the issue of sexual aggression, a contact form and published statistics. There is also a Parliamentary Commission of Education, Science and Child issues, Youth and Sport. The state promotes and facilitates the provisions of youth activities and youth services such as information and consulting services for supporting the personal, social and career development of the young people, promoting non-formal education for broadening the knowledge, experience and skills of young people and supporting their volunteering activities. More than 100 NGOs shape the women’s movement in Bulgaria that also addresses issues of violence against women.6 ii. Regional/local level The concrete social work with children, parents and families under the Child Protection Act is done by the Child protection Units of the Regional Directorates for Social Assistance. Each region has a governor, with a responsibility to work in close cooperation with the ministry on issues related to the National Youth Policy. On the local level, the mayors of the municipalities have that responsibility. In 30% of the municipalities there are Youth Councils as advisory bodies to the local authorities. Some municipalities have developed Municipality Youth Strategies besides the main state acts related to young people. 1. Victim-oriented Institutions, Organisations and Services 1.1 National level Women’s Alliance for Development Website Type of organisation Short description

http://women-bg.org/ Network NGO. The Women’s Alliance for Development was established in 2001 and unites 72 Bulgarian NGOs.

National helpline for children, adolescents and women victims of violence Web/Helpline Type of Organisation Short description

+359 2 981 76 86 Funded by the state. This national helpline provides counselling service 24 hours a day, only in Bulgarian. No specified helpline for gender-based violence is available.

5

http://sacp.government.bg/

6

http://www.cwsp.bg/en/htmls/page.php?category=123 4


Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

1.2 Regional/local level ‘Nadja Centre’ Foundation Website Type of organisation Short description

http://www.dvcounselling.eu/index.php/de/our-partners/providerpartners/nadja-centreNGO. Nadja Centre is a psycho-social centre for helping female victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse by offering them medical, psychological, psychiatric and social assistance, as well as assistance in negotiating with the authorities. It also provides legal advice and support to promote independence - to seek a job or a place for living. It gives the temporary asylum (shelter) to the women victims of domestic violence and their children. Nadja Shelter was opened in 1997 with the places for 18 women and children at a time. It was the first shelter in Bulgaria. The Foundation is the Bulgarian partner in the European network of ‘Women against the violence in Europe’ (WAVE). It is also an active participant in the yearly International Conference, where the standards for work in specialised centres and shelters for victims of domestic violence as a part of the European Committee were presented and approved. Furthermore, our organisation is a member of the coordination board of the Bulgarian-European Lobby, part of the European Women’s Lobby, and is actively involved in the working informal networks as the ‘Coalition Against Violence’, ‘National Network for Equal Opportunities’, etc. During the projects of Women’s Alliance for Development (WAD), Bulgarian Youth Red Cross and the Catholic Services for help, trainers from our organisation provided training seminars for national employees and members of nongovernmental organisations on the themes for aggression, violence and trafficking in human beings. Nothing is mentioned about the activities for young people.

SOS Families at Risk Association Website Type of Organisation Short Description

http://sos-varna.org/index.php NGO. Services:  counselling;  legal assistance. Fields of work:  male/domestic violence;  sexual abuse;  trafficking in women. Children in risk are among the main target groups of their activities. One of their main projects developed in 2008-2009 is ‘Protection and care for children at risk and their families through the provision of alternative social services 2008-2009’. Subject of the project: providing support and protection of children at risk and their families through the establishment of Crisis and Consultation Centre. 5


Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

The project was targeted at:  children victims of violence, sexual and labour exploitation;  children from Roma and other ethnic groups with problems in socialisation and adaptation;  parents of children in the target group;  representatives of institutions and professionals working or providing services to children at risk. Open Door Centre-Pleven Website Type of organisation Short description

http://women-bg.org/ NGO (helpline). Services:  counselling;  crisis support;  health care/therapy;  helpline;  legal assistance;  networking;  prevention;  public awareness/lobbying;  research;  shelter;  training. Fields of work:  male/domestic violence;  child abuse;  sexual abuse;  sexual harassment;  trafficking in women;  women's human rights.

Maria Centre Association Website Type of organisation Short description

http://www.centermaria.org/e/maria.php NGO. Services:  counselling;  support for victims;  legal assistance;  helpline;  social services;  sheltered home  prevention of home violence  traffic of women. Fields of work:  domestic violence;  child abuse  traffic of women;  implementing a project on Applying of the ‘Coordination mechanism’ for Prevention of the Violence over Children in the Districts of Targovishte and Veliko Turnovo. 6


Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

Alliance for Children and Youth (16+ Youth Day Care Centre) Website Type of Organisation Short description

http://www.acybg.org/index-en.htm NGO. The Alliance for Children and Youth was founded in September 2002 by the Free and Democratic Bulgaria Foundation, the Sofia Municipality and the Bulgarian Red Cross. Her Royal Highness Princess Maria-Luisa of Bulgaria is the Alliance's Honorary Chairperson. The Alliance aims to protect children's fundamental rights in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Bulgaria's Child Protection Act. The organisation implements its programs in the Faith, Hope and Love Centre for Street Children and the 16+ Youth Day Care Centre in Sofia and other centres of its choosing on the territory of the capital. These programs are funded both through projects under international programs and donations from individuals and corporations. Services:  counselling;  education;  advocacy;  healthcare. Fields of work:  the main field of work is socialising homeless children and various activities aiming at meeting children’s needs are implemented, including projects aiming in preventing sexual abuse against children and traffic of children.

Association Demetra-Burgas Website Type of organisation Short description

http://women-bg.org/ NGO. Services:  counselling;  training and education;  information and public campaigns;  volunteering. Fields of activity:  domestic violence;  violence against children.

Women Association ‘Ekaterina Karavelova’ - Silistra Website Type of organisation Short description

www.ekaravelova.net1.cc NGO. The association is working on the problems of women and children who are victims of domestic violence (including sexual abuse).

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Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

Services:  counselling;  sheltered home;  legal assistance;  helpline;  advocacy;  training. 2. Perpetrator-oriented Institutions, organisations and services 2.1 National level Sex Offenders Website Type of organisation Short description

http://www.sexoffenders-project.eu/en Project aimed at establishing a Network between NGOs and GOs (financed by European Commission Directorate-General Justice, Freedom and Security). A new European network for the exchange and transfer of knowledge and expertise in the field of treatment programmes for perpetrators of sexual harassment and violence against children and young people. The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation and Demetra Association - Burgas are at the basis of the network in Bulgaria. The project aims to contribute to the protection of children and young people against all forms of violence and in particular, against sexual abuses occurring in the private domain. Moreover, the project intends to create a multiagency network working with sex offenders also out of prisons, in order to avoid and reduce the risk of reiterated offences. Furthermore, awareness actions and training courses toward experts who work with sex offenders in and out of prisons (jail coach) will be organised. The project intends to set out analytical, monitoring and evaluation activities; to organise a training course for prisons guards, social operators and psychologists and to organise awareness and dissemination activities. In particular, the project aims at improving international collaboration between EU partners by increasing awareness of the management and rehabilitation of sex offender inmates. Dissemination activities will play a key role: promotion of conferences, discussions and knowledge-base in which the results of the project will be presented will be the core of the project. The project activities will directly involve prison guards, social and health operators and psychologists in each participating countries; besides, institutional representative, members of NGOs involved in prevention of crimes will be involved in all the dissemination activities.

3. Professional Training, Health Education and Research 3.1 National level BGRF-Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation Website Type of organisation

http://www.bgrf.org/en/ NGO.

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Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

Short description

The BGRF was founded in June 1998. The organisation works in the field of gender equality, prevention of domestic violence, reproductive rights and antidiscrimination by providing information, conducting research, providing analyses and draft laws, conducting campaigns and lobbying for legislative changes. It provides training and consultations for professionals and works in wider networks in cooperation with other organisations, public institutions and experts. The BGRF has branches in Plovdiv, Haskovo, Gorna Oryahovitza. Since 2001, the BGRF has a youth department.

WHRTI - Women’s Human Rights Website Type of organisation Short description

http://www.institute.bgrf.org/ NGO. The Institute aims to build the capacity of young lawyers from Central and Eastern European and the Newly Independent States (CEE/NIS) for litigation on women’s rights issues, including violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and employment discrimination.

Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association - IPPF-Member Website Type of organisation Short description

www.safesex.bg NGO. The Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) focuses on advocacy, and on information and education activities for the general public, targeting young people in particular. It runs comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care clinics in Sofia and six other cities, which are wellattended by young people. The clinics function as training centres for health personnel and social workers.

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Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

D. RESEARCH ON PREVALANCE, RISK FACTORS AND EVIDENCE BASED INTERVENTIONS Inclusion criteria: Studies from 2000 onwards; only quantitative studies; only studies reporting youth sexual aggression (excluding cases of childhood sexual abuse, as defined by legal age of consent). No.

1.

Year of public.

Author

Report of the Alpha Research Total

2011

Study characteristics Prevalence data

Incidence data

Perpetration data

Victimization data

Heterosexual aggression

Same-sex aggression

Risk factors/ outcomes

1

-

-

1

Not specified

Not specified

x

1

0

0

1

0

0

1

1. Sexual violence among women in Bulgaria. Results of the sociological research. January 2011. Report of the Alpha Research.7 Year of data collection Type of sample Sample composition Design Measurement of sexual aggression Type of data collected

Relationship(s) between victim and perpetrator Incidence Prevalence

2011. Stratified random sample of adult (18+) women representative of adult women in Bulgaria.  N Total = 1.000 (adult women).  N = 10 In-depth interviews with experts working on protection of female victims of sexual abuse. Cross-sectional. Face-to-face standardised interview carried out in the home of the participants.  Prevalence (lifetime, ever).  Victimization reports from women.  Sex constellation between victim and perpetrator not specified.  Quantitative (survey among women).  Qualitative (IDIs with experts). 76% of women who became a victim of rape and 82% of women who became victim of another form of sexual aggression said they knew their perpetrator. Known perpetrators include family members, relatives who do not live in the same household, acquaintances from work, school, etc. Figures cannot be broken down by these different relationships. N/a Summary of prevalence findings regarding victimization 

Findings regarding risk factors

4% of women (corresponding to approx. 120.000 women in the population) aged 18+ reported having been raped at some point in their life.  9% of women (corresponding to approx. 270.000 women in the population) aged 18+ reported another form of sexual victimization at some point in their life. Summary of findings regarding risk factors for victimization Victims of rape are more often:  women from the large cities (9%);  women aged 18–25 (8%);  women of Roma ethnic minority (11%).

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http://alpharesearch.bg/bg/socialni_izsledvania/socialni_publikacii/seksualnoto-nasilie-nad-jeni-vbalgariya.746.html 10


Country Report Bulgaria, 2012

Findings regarding outcomes or consequences Additional findings

Victim of another form of sexual abuse are more often:  women from small towns and villages (12%);  women aged 18–25 (15%);  students (11%), low qualified manual workers (15%), unemployed (13%);  women of Roma ethnic minority (24%). N/a

The majority of sexual assaults were not reported to the police because they took place in a domestic environment and the perpetrator is personally known to the victim. Among the victims of rape, only 29% said they complained to the police, and only 5% reported that the perpetrator was sentenced. Regarding the victims of other forms of sexual aggression, the proportion of complaints and sentenced perpetrators were lower: 17% of those being victim complained to the police and 1% said the perpetrator was sentenced.

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Y-SAV Country Report Bulgaria, 2012  

In 2010, a European project addressing Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization (Y-SAV) was launched. Y-SAV is a three-year project co-fina...

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