The Ministry of Justice is pushing for amendment to the Civil Law to abolish parents’ right to physically discipline their children in a bid to better protect children from abusive parents.
The plan is to delete the Article 915, which has been interpreted by some as giving legal grounds for corporal punishment. The clause itself does not say anything about the use of physical force as a means of discipline.
“Through the revision, we expect to contribute to forming an environment
that is centered on children’s rights and intolerant of child abuse,” the ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
The move comes amid a growing call in Korea for a ban on corporal punishment following high-profile cases in which parents have used violence against their children.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has also been one of the forces urging Korea to outlaw any use of physical force on minors. At the moment, 54 countries around the world have legally banned corporal punishment of children, it says.
Under Korean law, those who commit child abuse and put the victim in a critical condition can be sentenced to more than three years in prison. If the victim dies, the penalty can be raised to more than five years in prison. Suspended prison sentences are possible for both cases.
According to government data, a total of 132 children were found to have died from child abuse from 2014 to 2018. The yearly count has been mostly on an upward trend from 14 in 2014 to 16 in 2015, 38 in 2016, 38 in 2017 and 28 in 2018.
By Ko Jun-tae (email@example.com