Under proposed measures to be introduced next year, domestic violence offenders can be arrested at the scene of the crime and the violation of a restraining order could result in a prison sentence, the government said Tuesday.
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety and the National Police Agency jointly proposed stronger measures to combat domestic violence during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The move follows a high-profile murder case in which a 49-year-old man stands accused of fatally stabbing his ex-wife in a parking lot in western Seoul in October. Public outcry followed, with many people calling for tougher measures to stop domestic violence. The case is still before the courts.
When the new measures come into effect, police will be able to intervene in domestic violence cases more effectively by arresting an attacker on the spot. Currently, police are only allowed to stop attacks and separate victims from offenders.
The new measures also include tougher punishments for violations of restraining orders. Currently, violating a restraining order is punishable by a fine, but under the new measures, it could result in imprisonment.
The proposed changes would also affect the issuance of restraining orders and make it possible to prevent offenders from going near the victims or the victims’ families. At the moment, restraining orders prevent offenders from going to specified locations, such as victims’ homes or workplaces.
Gender Equality and Family Minister Jin Sun-mee introduces a proposal to strengthen measures to stop domestic violence at the Central Government Complex in Seoul on Tuesday (Yonhap)
Police would have to keep records of domestic violence reports for three years even if a case was closed at the victim’s request.
Under the proposed changes, offenders could also be prevented from seeing their children for up to a year, in an effort to prevent secondary crime. Police would be able to seek arrest warrants for habitual offenders and those who used weapons.
Furthermore, the definition of domestic violence would be expanded to include illegal filming, home invasion and ignoring a request to leave the house.
The government would also initiate programs to assist domestic violence victims. For example, after staying at a shelter for a certain period, victims would be eligible to receive up to 5 million won ($4,426) to help them get back on their feet.
The proposed measures also call for the establishment of five counseling centers to help migrant woman affected by domestic violence.
By Park Ju-young (firstname.lastname@example.org