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Police leave victims in the dark

As I look over my 2011, I not only appreciate the good experiences of the year, but revisit the difficulties, foremost of which was a cyber crime I suffered while living in Korea. As a foreigner, dealing with law enforcement was more complex, and in my case, as damaging as suffering the cyber attack.

Months have passed and time has given me perspective so that I can look at the experience objectively and offer suggestions to help others. As I’d lived in Korea for many years, I had a number of bilingual friends who could translate with law enforcement, but not every foreigner has that. Thus I think it would be helpful if all of Korea had access to a hotline like Seoul Help Center for Foreigners. As it is, this service is stretched beyond capacity and it’s very hard to get through.

Another source of frustration that could be eliminated was the lack of police reports. While I don’t expect all countries to follow the same legal system, it helps victims to see what the police did in the course of their investigation. In my case, the police did a search and seizure of the likely crime scene, but after that would not report on the progress of their investigation. This was a stark difference from my home country, where the police typically issue full reports to victims, which help them come to terms with trauma. Such reports needn’t be bilingual as I could have gotten one translated. Without reporting on their work, police leave victims in the dark, unable to understand how the police worked to seek justice on their behalf.

By Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly now lives in China, where she teaches English for Coastline College’s Early College program. Prior to that she taught English in Korea at the college level. She holds a master’s degree in education from Lesley University. ― Ed.