More needed to end child rapes: lawyers, doctors

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More needed to end child rapes: lawyers, doctors

A joint statement demanding better government policies on preventing sex crimes against children and the handling of victims was made by the Korean Bar Association and Korean Medical Association yesterday following the kidnap and rape of an 8-year-old girl in Seoul this week.

“The numerous policies [of the government] don’t have any substance,” said Lee Myung-sook, the executive director of human rights at the KBA. “Everyone - the government, police and prosecutors - should desist with these sham policies and the meaningless noise to make a show that they’re doing something. It’s a waste of money and we are outraged.”

On Monday, a temporary construction worker named Kim Su-cheol allegedly abducted an 8-year old student from a playground at the Usin Elementary School in Yeongdeungpo District, brought her to his home and raped her. Four hours later, police found the profusely bleeding girl wandering the streets near the school, but instead of bringing her to a hospital, they asked her to show them the crime scene, according to police reports seen by a JoongAng Ilbo reporter.

Parents nationwide have started questioning what authorities have done to prevent sex crimes against minors after the shocking cases of Cho Du-sun, who was given a 12-year sentence for beating and raping a young girl inside a public toilet in 2008, and Kim Kil-tae, who is on trial for the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl in Busan in February.

“So many policies have gushed out following recent rape cases, like in the case of Cho Du-sun and Kim Kil-tae. But these are impromptu measures from the government,” said Ahn Dong-hyun, who chairs a subcommittee at the Korean Medical Association.

The joint statement called for the establishment of safety hotline networks within schools, measures to prevent convicted sex criminals from repeating their offenses, and protection for victims of sex crimes and their families.

Police defended their handling of the rape victim yesterday. “We did not know she was in immediate need of surgery from her outward appearance,” an official from the Yeongdeungpo police precinct said, going on to emphasize that the parents had given consent for the investigation. “Should we just ignore their wishes?” he asked.

By Christine Kim, Kim Jeen-kyung []
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