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Juvenile Sexual Offenders Increase, But Remain Unattended

Juvenile Sexual Offenders Increase, But Remain Unattended

Posted July. 20, 2003 21:43,   


The `Center for Families of Child Sexual Abuse Victims` based in Sinsa-dong in Seoul consult about 7 families of child sexual abuse victims a day.

“We see the number of sex crimes committed by juveniles increasing these days,” said Song Young-ok, director at the family center. “Of some 20 calls a day, 7 to 8 cases are about victims abused by young kids attending at primary or middle schools.”

Despite the growing number of juvenile sexual offenders, however, experts point to that the government has yet to take due measures. Young offenders, in particular, are highly likely to commit crimes again if they are left unattended. To prevent them from building distorted thoughts about sex, rehabilitation programs are required.

The story of a juvenile offender identified only as A underscores the need to take prompt actions. The center got a call from a family who said A sexually abused their daughter. Later it was found that A had abused 21 little girls in less than a year.

“Chances of juvenile sexual offenders` repeating crimes are more than 90%, if they remain left unattended,” point out experts. “Rehabilitation programs including education and psychological therapy must be put into place.”

In advanced countries such as the U.S., teachers arrange counseling for juvenile sexual offenders and parents are required to submit the results of psychological treatment under the law.

In this country, however, there is no mandatory clause requiring the school and families to arrange a rehabilitation program and counseling, leaving young offenders unattended. Most fail to seek professional help or send offenders to a rehabilitation center since the procedures are complicating and it costs a lot. Also parents and teachers tend to ignore the seriousness of the matter by playing down `it can happen at their age.`

Since juvenile offenders aged under 13 are not subject to a criminal charge, in particular, investigations are not easy and there are few statistical data available. Not only they are hardly sent to counseling, but also they remain close to their victims.

“In Japan, child offenders are sent to a special education or counseling program after the Child Counseling Center, a government-backed organization, makes a ruling,” said Dr. Lee Dong-jin at the Korea Institute of Crime Policies. “To prevent juvenile sex crimes from happening, the government must lead efforts to set up due measures.”

“Sending them to a reformatory institute will not solve the problem,” said Gang Deok-ji, manager of the criminal psychology team at the Korea Institute of Scientific Investigation. “Education and psychological treatment are required so as to help them behave in accordance with their ages.”