Fulbright Forum – February 27, 2015

Ann Park

Best Interest of the Child: South Korea’s Child Protection Law and System for Abused and Neglected Children

The child protection system in South Korea is currently going through a period of transition. Child abuse issues had largely been ignored in Korean society until several prominent child abuse cases took place and received wide media coverage in 2013. This resulted in an increase in public awareness and triggered a movement to create new legislation addressing the holes in the current child protection system for abused and neglected children. As a result, the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc., of Crimes of Child Abuse (아동학대범죄의 처벌 등에 관한 특례법) was enacted on January 28th, 2014 and became effective as of September 29th, 2014, strengthening punishment measures for perpetrators and protective measures for child victims. Many of us are still confused about the new law and what it really changed for children, perpetrators, professionals working with children, etc.

This presentation will initially discuss how child maltreatment is viewed in Korea, especially in its cultural context, and provide background statistics and information related to child maltreatment. This presentation focuses on providing an overview of Korea’s child protection system and an analysis of the new law, the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc., of Crimes of Child Abuse.

Ann Park is a lawyer working in the area of child protection and is currently affiliated with Sogang University School of Law. She graduated with a certificate in child and family law from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where she was a Civitas ChildLaw Fellow for three years. She holds a B.A. in College of Social Studies from Wesleyan University. Throughout her education and work experience, Ann had a constant desire to research Korea’s child welfare system especially for abandoned, abused and neglected children.