Special reception needs of vulnerable groups


Country Report: Special reception needs of vulnerable groups Last updated: 28/05/24


Categories of people considered to be vulnerable are similar to those listed in Article 21 of the recast Reception Conditions Directive, the only difference being that the definition in Article 2(22) IPA does not explicitly include persons with serious illness, although the definition is not exhaustive.

According to Article 14(1) IPA, material reception conditions, health services, psychological counselling and overall treatment need to be adapted for applicants with special needs.

There is no special mechanism laid down in the law or in practice to identify vulnerable persons for the purpose of addressing their specific reception needs. (see also: Screening of vulnerability). Their vulnerability can be partially examined during the medical examination – visible physical characteristics due to which the individual is considered to be vulnerable – during which the vulnerability assessment is performed in accordance with Article 13(1) IPA. The individual’s vulnerability can also be assessed during the lodging of their application. The Migration directorate fills out a form for every asylum seeker upon lodging their application and lists the identified vulnerabilities of the asylum seeker. The form is then given to the UOIM when the applicant is accommodated. The vulnerability of an applicant can also be assessed during the personal interview.

Special needs regarding reception conditions can also be identified at a later stage according to Article 13(2) IPA. Unfortunately, there is no monitoring mechanism in place regarding the measures for addressing one’s special needs in reception.

After their asylum application is lodged, special information sessions are conducted with unaccompanied children and other potential victims of trafficking. The sessions were carried out by the NGO Društvo Ključ., In 2023, 457 individual sessions were conducted and 2,524 individuals were informed through groups sessions. Out of 2,981 individuals who received information 465 were minors.[1]

When victims or potential SGBV victims are identified, they are processed in the system of Standard Operating Procedures. The system is based on a protocol that establishes a mechanism for prevention, and action in cases where asylum seekers or beneficiaries of international protection are identified as victims or potential victims of sexual or gender-based violence.[2] The mechanism complements the existing national mechanism, and it aims to establish a fast and coordinated approach for offering support to victims. When a potential victim is identified, the authority, or the NGO that identified them, is obliged to report it and call for an immediate activation of the Standard Operating Procedures. A meeting of relevant actors is conducted and a plan of support is drafted based on the individual needs of the victim. Additional support can be offered to the victim regarding reception, health care, mental health care, international protection procedure or any other identified needs.[3]

In 2023 the expert group did not meet[4] in line with the protocol on sexual and gender-based violence established in 2020.

As mentioned in Health Care, individuals who are identified as vulnerable by a special multidisciplinary committee can receive additional health services.[5] They can also be accommodated in special facilities such as medical facilities or nursing homes if appropriate accommodation for them cannot be provided in the Asylum Home.[6] In practice, this is arranged on a case by case basis and depends on the availability of such facilities.

Statistics on vulnerable asylum seekers is not gathered systematically by the Police, Migration directorate or the UOIM. In 2023, 159 asylum seekers were recognised as vulnerable, out of which 111 were minors and 48 were unaccompanied minors.[7] Information on other vulnerable groups is not available.

Lack of separate accommodation centres for members of particularly vulnerable groups (LGBTQI+, single women, single women with children, unaccompanied minors, victims of SGBV, victims of trafficking, victims of domestic violence) is another shortcoming of the asylum system. Due to limited accommodation capacities, vulnerable individuals are often not accommodated in a manner that would provide them with sufficient privacy and safety. The reception conditions worsened significantly in 2023. (See: Reception conditions). During the year vulnerable groups, including unaccompanied minors, were often accommodated together with other asylum seekers and not separated by gender in the Asylum Home. Unaccompanied minors accommodated in the Asylum home, especially before lodging their application, were not separated from adults.[8]

The new reception and accommodation facility for unaccompanied minors was opened in April 2024.


Reception of families

Families are mostly accommodated Logatec. Nuclear families are accommodated together during the asylum procedure while extended family members, mainly single men, can be accommodated in a separate unit of the Asylum Home or in a different accommodation centre. In practice, most families are accommodated in Logatec after lodging the application. While waiting to lodge the application they are accommodated in Logatec or the Asylum Home.

Due to a large increase of arrivals in 2023, families were often accommodated in inadequate reception conditions during the year[9]. (see: Reception conditions).

Since the amendments of the IPA asylum seekers can no longer obtain financial assistance for private accommodation, meaning that families can only move to private accommodation if they have their own means of subsistence. Due to high costs connected with private accommodation families often stay in the Asylum home during the procedure.[10]


Reception of unaccompanied children

According to the provisions of the IPA, unaccompanied minors have to be accommodated in institutions that are intended for minors and provided with adequate support and care. The decision as to where the unaccompanied minor will be accommodated is made by the UOIM, in cooperation with the legal guardian, after obtaining the opinion of the social services.[11]

Separate reception centre for systematic accommodation of unaccompanied children in Slovenia was established in April 2024 meaning that in 2023 unaccompanied children could be accommodated either in the Asylum Home in Ljubljana, its branch Logatec or in the Student Dormitory in Postojna which operated as a pilot project from 2016 to April 2024. In accordance with an agreement between UOIM and the Student Dormitory Postojna, only up to 22 unaccompanied children could be accommodated in the dormitory. In the Asylum Home or its branch Logatec, unaccompanied children were not separated from other adults.

In practice, since the number of unaccompanied children was higher than the reception capacity of the Student Dormitory, only unaccompanied children under 16 were accommodated in Postojna while the rest were accommodated in the Asylum Home (especially before lodging the application) or its branch Logatec. Due to shortcomings in protection and care, the Asylum Home and Logatec do not provide suitable accommodation for unaccompanied children (see Conditions in Reception Facilities). At the end of the year, 8 were in Student Dormitory Postojna.[12]

The lack of appropriate accommodation for unaccompanied minors was also highlighted by the Committee against Torture.[13] The Committee noted that there is a lack of individualized approach based on an assessment of the best interest of the child in asylum centres and student dormitory. In its concluding observations the Committee urged the Government to continue its efforts to provide appropriate accommodation for unaccompanied and separated children, develop a multidisciplinary system of care based on the best interest of the child and individualized needs assessments and provide sufficient protection safeguards.

During 2022, the interdepartmental working group for the establishment of a systematic form of accommodation for the treatment of unaccompanied minors was activated again. In 2023, the new Decree on providing appropriate accommodation, care and treatment of unaccompanied minors[14] was adopted. The Decree forms the legal ground for establishing a systematic form of accommodation for unaccompanied minors. According to the Decree, three types of accommodation for unaccompanied minors will be established: a reception center for unaccompanied minors, accommodation units for unaccompanied minors and youth apartments.[15] According to the Decree, the reception center can have the capacity for up to 50 children. Before accommodation in the reception center, the child has to go through a medical examination. The child can be accommodated in the reception center for up to 3 months. Children will be accommodated based on their age, gender and vulnerability and 24hour care will be provided. [16] The accommodation units will be intended for longer accommodation of children. The maximum capacity of the accommodation unit can be up to 10 children. Children will be accommodated based on their age, gender and vulnerability and 24hour care will be provided.[17] Children older than 16 can be accommodated in the youth apartments if the multidisciplinary team will assess that they are ready for independent living. In each youth apartment, up to 6 children can be accommodated. They will be guided and monitored by UOIM counsellors who will visit them on a daily basis. If, after a certain period, it is determined that this form of accommodation is not suitable for the minor, he/she can be returned to the accommodation units.[18]

Upon accommodation, each child will be assigned their own counsellors, responsible for monitoring the child’s development. Each counsellor can be responsible for up to 5 children.[19] Each child will have their personal file with all documentation relating to their accommodation and care.[20] In 5 days after arrival, the individual plan for care and treatment of the child should be prepared. The plan should also include the assessment of the best interest of the child, identified vulnerabilities, special needs or risks that can affect the accommodation process or security and benefits of the child. The plan is amended during the accommodation of the child and has to be adapted to the child’s age, gender, needs, other circumstances and experiences of the child, the child’s wishes and interest. It also has to include all the relevant information regarding the provision of professional support, care planning, medical care, education, career path and his hobbies and interests. The individual plan also includes a plan for further accommodation and the definition of short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.[21] Cooperation of different stakeholders and individuals working with the child is foreseen. The cooperation will be coordinated by the UOIM that can also organize a multidisciplinary team for consultation on the future treatment of the child.[22]

In January 2024, UOIM opened a public call for additional capacities for unaccompanied children, namely the reception center, accommodation units and youth apartments.[23] In December,[24] January[25] and February[26] 2024, UOIM also published a public call for additional employment of social workers for unaccompanied minors.

A systemic solution for accommodation and care of unaccompanied children should have been established in January 2024, however it was pushed by the Government’s decree first to February and then to April 2024 due to needed construction works on the future reception centre.[27] Until then the unaccompanied minors stayed in existing accommodation centres including the Student Dormitory Postojna.[28] In April 2024 the first reception and accommodation capacity for unaccompanied children was established therefore the pilot project in Student Dormitory Postojna finished and children were moved to the new capacity.

Identification of unaccompanied minors during the Police procedures was one of the major systematic shortcomings in 2023. (see: Screening for vulnerability).  In addition, while an age assessment procedure is set out in law (see Identification), it is not carried out in practice, thereby raising the risk of adults falsely claiming to be children being accommodated together with actual children. (see Age assessment of unaccompanied children).[29]

As described in Legal Representation of Unaccompanied Children, appointed legal guardians assist unaccompanied children with access to health care, education and reception, among other tasks.




[1] Information provided by Društvo Ključ, April 2024.

[2] The protocol is available in Slovenian at: https://bit.ly/3HA3hBZ.

[3] UOIM: Deležniki podpisali nov protokol o preprečevanju in ukrepanju v primerih spolnega nasilja ter nasilja na podalgi spola, 25 February 2020, available in Slovenian at: https://bit.ly/39AXpdb.

[4] Official statistics provided by the UOIM, March 2024.

[5] Article 86(2) IPA.

[6] Article 83(2) IPA.

[7] Official statistics provided by UOIM, February 2024.

[8] Observation by the PIC.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Article 16(7) IPA.

[12] Official statistics provided by UOIM, March 2024.

[13] U.N. Committee against Torture: Concluding observation on the fourth periodic report for Slovenia, 7 December 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3OY4B5k.

[14] Decree on providing appropriate accommodation, care and treatment of unaccompanied minors, October 2023, available in Slovenian at:  https://bit.ly/48cKBTj.

[15] Article 3 Decree on providing appropriate accommodation, care and treatment of unaccompanied minors.

[16] Article 4 Decree on providing appropriate accommodation, care and treatment of unaccompanied minors.

[17] Article 5 Decree on providing appropriate accommodation, care and treatment of unaccompanied minors.

[18] Article 6 Decree on providing appropriate accommodation, care and treatment of unaccompanied minors.

[19] Article 10(1) Decree on providing appropriate accommodation, care and treatment of unaccompanied minors.

[20] Article 8 Decree on providing appropriate accommodation, care and treatment of unaccompanied minors.  

[21] Article 10 Decree on providing appropriate accommodation, care and treatment of unaccompanied minors.  

[22] Article 13 Decree on providing appropriate accommodation, care and treatment of unaccompanied minors.  

[23] UOIM, Informativno javno zbiranje ponudb za najem opremljenih nastanitvenih objektov, available at: https://bit.ly/3OXtCxt.

[24]  Available at: https://bit.ly/3OWOAwe.

[25] Available at: https://bit.ly/3IfjOuM

[26] Available at: https://bit.ly/3IgdkvW.

[27] GOV.SI, 89. Regular session of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, 31 January 2024, available at: https://bit.ly/3uQfFuo.

[28] MMC: Vlada zamaknila selitev mladoletnikov brez spremstva na novo lokacijo, 30 January 2024, available at: https://bit.ly/48shWtf.

[29] Observation by the PIC.  

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the first report
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation