The Speaker of the Slovak Parliament Boris Kollár has called for a crackdown on bullying, calling for youths who bully other children to be placed in correctional facilities until adulthood.
Kollár’s remarks echo the public outrage felt across Slovakia following the brutal attack on an 11-year-old girl by her peers, which drew national media attention and universal condemnation.
Kollár, who himself is the father of eleven children, wants to convene a coalition council at which Minister of the Interior Roman Mikulec should explain how he wants to deal with bullying among children.
“As a society, we have to take a sharp stand against bullying. If necessary, I will call for a change in the criminal law so that such children who bully others end up in re-education centers until they reach adulthood,” said Kollár.
The case has drawn big media attention across the country
The 11-year-old girl at the center of the calls for criminal justice reform fell victim to a brutal attack by three children aged 14 to 16 in the western village of Miloslavov on Jan. 2.
Following an altercation which allegedly began over a spilled glass, the girl was dragged to the premises of a former agricultural site where she was attacked by the gang of youths.
“As punishment, they started pouring alcohol into her, beating her in the face and belly and undressing her. The others filmed the attack on their mobile phones and shared the footage on social media,” Markíza TV reported.
When the girl began to vomit blood, the group agreed to tell the paramedics and police that they had found her already beaten.
A witness to the incident said that the children first slapped the girl and then kicked her. They then undressed the girl and took pictures of her. One of the attackers assured the others that they would not get into trouble because her mother is a serving police officer.
The mother of the attacked girl said that her daughter went out with her classmates in the afternoon, but when she attempted to contact her later on that day she could not be reached.
“New videos and photos appear every day. It’s terrible. She didn’t deserve this. She’s only 11 years old. I’m afraid she could try to harm herself,” the victim’s mother said.
The police added that it would not publish any details of the investigation, nor anything concerning the victim as they did not want to deepen the girl’s trauma. Furthermore, any disclosure of criminal evidence would only help the alleged offenders prepare a defense, the police noted.