Child Abuse in Korea – “Professionals” Required to Report Crime: Sentences Increased & Police Receiving More Training on the Needs of Victims

Most crimes, in Korea, related to the most vulnerable in society are seeing more attention by the police & prosecution and greater sentences from judges – child abuse is no exception.

In Korea, child abuse may be punished under the Act on Special Cases Related to the Punishment etc. of Child Abuse Crimes (아동학대범죄의 처벌 등에 관한 특례법). Some individuals may be held civilly liable (fined) for not reporting child abuse.

The law defines a “child” in Korea as anyone under the age of 18 (legal – Western age). To report a crime, it is advisable to contact your local police office or call 112. A formal statement may be given to the police in writing. If you are unable to communicate in Korean, it is advisable to bring a Korean-speaking friend.

Child Abuse in Korea Defined

Child Abuse

The following is considered, in Korea, child abuse:

  1. Harm inflicted on a child that may damage the health and welfare of the child;
  2. Physical, sexual, or psychological abuse of a child; and
  3. Cruel acts that may impede the natural growth of a child.

Affirmative Duty to Report
“Professionals” have an affirmative duty to report child abuse.  Professionals include teachers (even Hagwon teachers) and all other school personnel. The punishment for not reporting a child abuse crime for a “professional” is a fine of up KRW 5million. A fine may lead, for foreigners, to deportation

For more information on Child Abuse in Korea please visit:National Child Protection Agency of Korea. Yes, Korea has a government agency for everything.


Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw and IPG Legal is consistently ranked a Top Dispute Resolution Law Firm.

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