Croatia - Article 26

(updated 08/01/2018)

Law and Policy

  1. Is there a legal right to habilitation and rehabilitation services in your country? Please describe relevant laws and give links to further information for:

    A legal right to habilitation and rehabilitation services is set out within the following pieces of legislation: - Law on the Universal Body for Disability Examination
    https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2014_07_85_1688.html
    http://www.zosi.hr/zavod/vjestacenje/
    - Examination is conducted for the purpose of exercising rights in the field of social welfare, pension insurance, occupational rehabilitation and employment of persons with disabilities, maternity and parental benefit rights, protection of war and civilian victims of war, and for the purpose of establishing the psycho-physical condition of the child in exercising rights in the education system, as well as for the purpose of exercising rights in other areas in which the rights are exercised on the basis of findings and opinions of the expert body when it is prescribed by this Act or by a special regulation
    - Depending on the procedures for exercising the right, one should contact the following institutions:
    Croatian Pension Insurance Institute
    - assessment of work ability
    - determining percentage of impairment
    - accessibility sign and reduced highway toll
    - disability insurance benefits
    - increased child allowance
    Croatian Institute for Health Insurance
    - for exercising the right to leave or half-time work due to care of a child with more severe developmental disabilities and the transfer of rights under the One-Parent Grants Act
    Centre for Social Welfare
    - personal disability allowance
    - allowance for help and care (full and reduced scope)
    - status of caregiver parent / caregiver status
    - compensation until employment
    - social services (help at home, psychosocial support, early intervention, inclusion assistance in education programs and regular education - integration, accommodation, organized housing)
    State Administration Offices
    - health care
    - rights under the Law on Croatian Defenders and Civilian Victims of War (accessibility sign, level of orthopaedic allowance, need for care of another person etc.)

  2. Is there a legal right to assistive technology, aids and equipment?

    This right is set out by the Law on Compulsory Health Insurance
     

  3. Do laws on rehabilitation recognise and support participation in all aspects of community life?

    Yes

  4. Are there policies on habilitation and rehabilitation services for people who are blind or partially sighted?
    • a. For children who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    • b. For adults of working age who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    • c. For older people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

      See answer to 1

  5. Do policies recognise the importance of a personalised multidisciplinary assessment of each individual´s needs and circumstances? Please describe the policies and give web links to more information, for people who are: a. Blind persons b. Partially sighted persons

    See answer to 1

  6. Are there policies on developing peer support for habilitation and rehabilitation?
    • a. For children (please also include policies on family support) who are (i) Blind (ii) Partially sighted
    • b. For people of working age who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    • c. For older people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

      There are no policies on developing peer support for habilitation and rehabilitation

  7. Are there resources for peer support services?

    N/A

  8. Do blind and visually impaired people and their organisations fully participate as equal partners in the development of policies and standards for habilitation and rehabilitation services?

    Blind and partially sighted persons who are members of their local Association of the blind (27 local associations in Croatia) are invited to participate in the development of policies and standards through voicing their opinion and sharing experience.

Access to Habilitation and Rehabilitation

Support Services

  1. Are there dedicated services for both partially sighted and blind people that meet their distinct needs? Are these habilitation and rehabilitation services focussed on supporting independent living in the community living:

    See answer 1

  2. What is the full range of services in your country

    See answer 1

  3. How is eligibility determined to access habilitation and rehabilitation services for

    Eligibility is determined through the process of examination, set out by the Law on the Universal Body for Disability Examination
    https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2014_07_85_1688.html
    http://www.zosi.hr/zavod/vjestacenje/

  4. Who provides habilitation and rehabilitation services (for example, dedicated blindness and low vision rehabilitation and support centres, hospitals (private and public), NGOs)?

    Habilitation and rehabilitation services are provided by the Centre for Education “Vinko Bek”; Center “Silver”; Daily Center for Rehabilitation of Children and Youth “Mali dom”.

  5. Are services available locally in all parts of the country?

    With an exception of psycho social support in the family (as a follow up of rehabilitation process), services are provided centrally in the capital City of Zagreb.

  6. How are services funded (for example, free, paid for by the user, means tested)?

    Services are funded by the government.

  7. If services are not free have any problems of affordability been reported?

    N/A

  8. Are services available for all age groups: children, adults and older people?

    Services are not available for people older than 65.

Access to Equipment and Technologies

  1. The CRPD states that governments should make sure disabled people know about aids, technology and assistive devices and how to use them. How is this done in your country?

    Persons with visual impairments are informed about aids, technology and assistive devices through their local associations of the blind, family doctor and/or social welfare centre.

  2. What training is provided in the use of equipment and technology?

    When purchasing the equipment and technology, depending on the complexity, the training is provided by the distributor of the technology.

  3. How is eligibility for equipment, technology and training determined?

    Eligibility is determined according to the Law on the Universal Body for Disability Examination (see answer to 1)

  4. How are aids, equipment and technology funded (for example, free, paid for by the user, means tested)?

    Certain aids, equipment and technology are funded by the state within the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, i.e. white cane, Braille watch, Plextalk audio device, Braille Perkins machine (students exclusively), Braille note taker (students exclusively). Other aids and technology is available for purchase and paid for by the users.

  5. If services are not free have any problems of affordability been reported?

    N/A

  6. Are there any limitations on the choice of equipment? What are these?

    Equipment covered by the insurance is limited to certain brands.

Development of the Competence of Professionals

  1. Are there training programmes for rehabilitation professionals? Please describe these (If there is accredited training, the qualifications recognised, where people are trained, to what level etc.)

    Officially the only institution providing training for professionals (mobility and orientation, daily-living skills, Braille reading and writing etc.) is the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences. However, young professionals, when starting to work in institutions specialized in providing services to people with VI, receive internal (non-formal) training from those institutions, because in practice they cannot work only with diploma from the Faculty. Institutions providing services to people with VI are: Center Vinko Bek (primary and secondary school for blind children, department for rehabilitation of adults who lost sight later in life etc.), Center Silver (providing services for orientation and mobility, sensory integration, training for guide dogs), Day Care Center for Rehabilitation of Children and Young Adults „Mali dom“ (for children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities).

  2. Please describe how rehabilitation professionals are trained. Does training emphasise meeting needs on an individual basis?

    See answer above.

  3. Does professional training incorporate human rights perspectives?

    Professional training is a full study programme so it does incorporate human rights perspectives.

  4. Additional comments on professional training

    none

Your Organisation

  1. Does your organisation represent both blind and partially sighted people in your country?

    Yes, Croatian Blind Union represents both groups.

  2. What are the conditions for someone with visual impairment to become a member of your organisation or use its services? Please be as specific as possible both for blind and partially sighted people.

    The conditions are in line with the standard definitions from the World Health Organization (WHO). These criteria are based upon testing of the vision with the Snellen chart.
    I. category: Visual impairment - Moderate (Score: 1)
    Worse than 6/18; 20/60 Equal to or better than: 6/60; 20/200
    II. Category: Visual impairment - Severe (Score: 2)
    Worse than 6/60; 20/200 Equal to or better than: 3/60; 20/400
    III. Category: Blindness (Score 3)
    Worse than 3/60; 20/400 Equal to or better than: 1/60; 20/1200
    Counting fingers at 1 meter
    IV. category: Blindness (Score 4)
    Worse than 1/60; 20/1200 Equal to or better than: Light perception
    Counting fingers at 1 meter
    V. category: Blindness (Score 5)
    - no light perception.

  3. Is this strictly applied, or is there more flexibility in practice?

    There is more flexibility in practice.

  4. Is there another organisation that a person with visual impairment can turn to if they cannot affiliate to your organisation or if you cannot meet their needs? Please give as many details as possible.

    Besides Croatian Blind Union, other organisations are:
    - Centre for Education “Vinko Bek”;
    - Center “Silver”;
    - Daily Center for Rehabilitation of Children and Youth “Mali dom”.

  5. How is your organisation involved in the implementation of the right to habilitation and rehabilitation support services and programmes for both blind people and people with partial sight? Please give as much detail as possible, especially regarding:
    • a. policies and standards

      see below

    • b. monitoring of implementation

      see below

    • c. actions to ensure that dedicated services are in place that meet the distinct needs of blind and partially sighted people.

      see below

    • d. actual provision of services to blind and partially sighted people and the rights that people with visual impairment have to services.

      As the national umbrella organisation, Croatian Blind Union is continually advocating for better policies and standards through its contacts with the respective Ministries and other government bodies.

  6. Is there an officer or expert appointed in your organisation to work on partial sight matters? Please describe.

    No

  7. What actions is your organisation taking to implement the right to rehabilitation services with dedicated, distinct services for blind people and people who have low vision, and to ensure that these services are/will be available in practice? Please give details (examples: lobbying, cooperation with rehabilitation centres, setting up support services, cooperation with universities to develop specific training for rehabilitation experts etc.)

    Actions are mostly aimed at advocating and lobbying with the respective Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to recognise the right to rehabilitation as a complex process that involves all domains of everyday life.

  8. How does your organisation inform people with visual impairments and the general public about living with blindness and partial sight? (Examples: a website, a national helpline, information stands in hospitals, campaigns, etc.)

    Info channels include a website, free phone service 0800 666 665, newsletter, targeted campaigns.

  9. How does your organisation inform others about the available habilitation and rehabilitation and support services for blind and partially sighted people?

    See the answer above.

  10. In what way is your organisation working with specialised ophthalmologists, optometrists, rehabilitation centres, and teachers, residential homes for older people etc. to prevent, inform and support people with visual impairment?

    Regular cooperation with Croatian Institute of Public Health serves as the focal point for all initiatives gathering professionals in the field to prevent, inform and support people with visual impairment.

  11. Is your organisation involved in the Vision 2020 initiative in your country?

    Croatian Blind Union is not directly involved.

  12. Are you familiar with the EBU standards for low vision services in Europe toolkit for implementing the right of partially sighted people to the services they need? How helpful is this resource document?

    Yes, the resource document is helpful as an overview of standards.

  13. What, if any, type of support would you like to have to implement UNCRPD article 26 for blind and partially sighted people? Be as specific as possible.

    Support in convincing the government and respective Ministry of Health that persons that lost their sight later in life must be recognized and receive immediate rehabilitation service, as is the case with all persons with other forms of acquired disability.

  14. If you compare the current situation with five years ago, regarding the implementation of the right to rehabilitation services for blind people and for people with partial sight, would you say that in your country:
    • a. nothing has changed (explain )
    • b. The situation has worsened (explain why and how)

      Although the policies are in place, the rights are continually eroding, as there is insufficient infrastructure (primarily human resources) in place to provide the rehabilitation services for all those in need of it. The waiting lists are long and many people are “lost through the cracks” as there is lack of systematic approach.

    • c. The situation has improved (explain why and how)
  15. Is further action needed in your country? If yes, please explain what needs to be done.

    Croatian Blind Union is continuing to pressure government bodies and ministries to designate the funds needed to establish Rehabilitation Centre for the blind and partially sighted persons.

  16. Please send any articles, material, training, standards, protocols, or links that you feel could perhaps serve your colleagues in other EBU countries aiming at high standards services for everyone with sight loss.

    N/A