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Revision to domestic violence law proposed to regulate stalking crimes

By Lim Jae-seong

Published : Nov. 7, 2022 - 17:59

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Independent Rep. Yang Jeong-sook (Herald DB) Independent Rep. Yang Jeong-sook (Herald DB)

Lawmakers at the National Assembly proposed revising a domestic violence law to allow the punishment of stalking crimes committed by family members.

Independent Rep. Yang Jeong-sook and other 10 lawmakers on Thursday purposed a revision to the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Crimes of Domestic Violence to extend the scope of punishing stalking crimes, Yang’s office announced Monday.

The current domestic violence law has only regulated limited scope of stalking crimes, such as those regards to telecommunication, including repeated sending of a threatening message to the victims, the office explained.

This has left a legal blind spot where stalking victims inside of the family might not be protected, the lawmakers wrote on the bill proposal.

The law suggestion comes amid rising social concerns over stalking cases caused by ex-spouses or crimes perpetrated by family member.

Yang also referred to a recently reported deadly stalking case where a woman was stalked by her ex-spouse who tracked her by attaching a GPS device to her car for two months in Seoul in 2018.

A 2019 survey by the Ministry of Gender Equality found that about 34.2 percent of those who divorced had experienced stalking in their process of divorce or separation.

The figure includes cases of repeated unsolicited messaging or visits to the victim’s children, family and friends to blackmail the victim.

“Those who try to end marriage to avoid domestic violence are put at the high risk of stalking by the spouse, which could lead to an irreparable result of the victim or all family’s death,” said Yang in the statement.

“The legal protection for people who are under surveillance or chased will be expanded by admitting stalking as a type of domestic violence,” she added.