Now that the first-ever anti-stalking law has taken effect in South Korea, lawmakers at the National Assembly are taking it a step further by proposing a revision to the domestic violence law to allow punishment of stalking crimes committed by family members.
Independent Representative Yang Jeong Sook and ten other lawmakers drafted a revision to the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Crimes of Domestic Violence to include the scope of punishing stalking crimes.
Currently, the domestic violence law regulates only a limited scope of stalking crimes, such as sending threatening messages repeatedly to the victims, but being stalked by family members is not included. The law was revised amid rising concerns of stalking ex-spouses or crimes perpetrated by a family member.
Yang also referenced a recently reported deadly stalking case wherein a woman was stalked by her ex-husband, who tracked her by attaching a GPS device to her car for two months in Seoul in 2018. In addition, a survey by the Ministry of Gender Equality in 2019 found that 34.2 percent of those who got divorced suffered the ordeal of being stalked during divorce or separation.
The statistic included cases of repeated unsolicited messaging or unexpected visits to the victim’s children, family, and friends, to blackmail the victim. Representative Yang reiterated her stance on the proposed revision.
Those who try to end marriage to avoid domestic violence are at high risk of stalking by the spouse, which could lead to an irreparable result of the victim or all family’s death. The legal protection for people under surveillance or chased will be expanded by admitting stalking as a type of domestic violence.
— Representative Yang Jeong Sook