An Albanian child-rights organisation has filed a formal request with the government to increase the age of sexual consent and improve laws to protect young people from violence and sexual exploitation.
CRCA/ECPAT Albania, an NGO focussing on the rights of young people formally requested immediate legal improvements to the criminal code and the law on the rights of the child, with the Committee on Health and Social Affairs of the Albanian Parliament.
The proposal consists of two tenets; raising the minimum age for consent for sexual contact and intercourse and changing the definition of sexual violence in the criminal code which currently only considers rape.
“Children need more protection, security and care in their lives, including better protection from violence and sexual exploitation. Albanian legislation must be in line with the Lanzarote Convention of the Council of Europe and the European Union directives for the protection of children from all forms of sexual violence,” said the organisations Director Altin Hazizaj.
Data from CRCA/ECPAT collected over the last 12 years shows that 80% of reported sexual crimes in Albania were committed against those under 18 with most against a child under 14.
The organisations state that this shows sexual predators have long placed children and adolescents as targets as the law does not adequately protect them.
Currently, Albanian law states that the age of consent is 14, one of the lowest ages in Europe. Most EU and European countries put the age between 16-18.
A study in 2021 carried out by the United Nations Population Fund Office in Albania, found that 8% of surveyed children said they had been sexually abused while 3% said they had been raped or suffered attempted rape. Out of these, boys were more likely to be sexually abused than girls, while girls were more likely to be emotionally abused.
A different report from Barnhaus found that those aged between 10-14 were most likely to be sexually abused with most cases taking place in the south of the country, followed by the center of the country (home to the capital of Tirana).