Youth Participation and Empowerment for Health in Northern Albania

Rooted in gender inequality, violence against women and girls constitutes a grave violation of human rights and a major barrier to their sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing. Domestic violence (DV), intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual violence highly affects youth in Albania, both girls and boys. As reported also through media sexual offenses, illegal gambling, and domestic violence have seen an upward trend. The 2021 annual report of the General Prosecution Office on criminal offenses indicates that there was a 16% rise in of sexual violence crimes. During 2021, domestic violence was 12% higher compared to 2020, with 1,406 cases reported.

Furthermore, youth in Albania, both girls and boys, are strongly affected by violence. Violence against children and young people in Albania has long been considered as a means of their discipline and education. Especially the use of physical violence has tangible consequences on the youngsters, affecting their self-esteem, academic achievements, causing anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, unwanted pregnancy, increasing the risk of depression and suicide, etc. These issues, being very often associated with substance-use (tobacco, alcohol, and drugs), compromise the health and wellbeing of youth in Albania. The increasing reach and widespread use of the social media among young people has coupled with the global rise in conservative movements against women’s rights, leading to the emergence of cyber violence against women and girls (VAWG) as a growing problem with potentially significant consequences.

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