South Korea has been dealing with many high-profile cases of child abuse for years. Just last December an 11-year-old girl escaped from a house in Incheon, where she had been battered and malnourished for several years. After her escape, the police arrested her father, his girlfriend, and another female friend, and they charged them with abuse and confining the child, as well as neglecting her education.
Quartz magazine reports that following pressures on the government to address this issue, on March 27, the Seoul Family Court announced that they will ask of divorcing parents to receive education on how to prevent child abuse, starting in May. Reportedly, over 40% of abused children are from single-parent or remarried families.
Educational guidelines related to this issue will be drafted by the court and distributed to all courts around the nation later this year. They will be mandatory whether the divorce is by agreement or by legal action, and a refusal to take them will lead to a stop in the divorce proceedings.
What the parents will learn in these courses is that child abuse is not only physical abuse, but also negligence and abusive language, and that this could lead to criminal punishment and removal of custodial rights.
The problem of the parents’ harsh attitude towards their children is especially spread in South Korea, where parents view themselves as their children’s masters. In the past, parents mistreating their children was viewed as a private matter, but this started to change in late 2014 when South Korea passed laws to punish child abusers, following two high-profile cases of women beating their stepdaughters to death.
Unfortunately, the number of confirmed abuses in South korea grew from 3,891 in 2004 to 10,024 in 2014. The numbers might increase because more cases are getting reported due to a shift in attitude. However the actual numbers are most likely higher, as many cases go unreported.