SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, September 25, 2019 – The number of digital sex crimes related to secretly filming of people without their knowledge using hidden cameras and posting/selling the footage via a website has increased about 23 times during the last decade, accounting for one out of four sexual violence crimes. Once posted, the video clips cannot be completely deleted, so this kind of crime is called the “socially murder” or the “murder severely harms human dignity.” However, victims often do not know where and how to report it or tend to be afraid to tell the damage they had, so they miss the timing and the damages are likely to widely spread.
According to the Korean Women’s Development Institute, 45.6 percent of digital sex crime victims have thought of committing suicide, and 42.3 percent even set up detailed plan for the suicide. And 19.2 percent attempted it.
Digital sex crimes include illegal filming of others, spreading it without agreement, re-spreading of it, threatening victims to spread it, making composite pictures, sexual harassment, and digital grooming.
With such a circumstance, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said that it will run the online platform dubbed “On! Seoul Safe” from the end of October this year and provide comprehensive support for victims of digital sex crimes both online and offline.
On this online platform, victims can quickly get a counseling from professional “Support Companions (SC),” who have more than 10 years of experience in gender violence, and get detailed information on how to report the crime. If a victim requests, a SC visits her/him and provide needed consultation.
In addition, SCs offer “one-to-one coordinator” service that helps the victims relieve the damage. Because immediate response is very important due to the nature of digital sex crimes, SCs accompany the victims in the police investigation process and legal proceedings, helping them prepare a complaint and write a statement, and if needed they link a psychological treatment institute for healing the victim’s trauma.
The city government will also strengthen measures to prevent digital sex crimes in advance. It will select a total of 1,000 “digital democratic citizen monitoring group” and ask them to monitor new kinds of digital sex crimes taking place on online social network service pages. The results of their monitoring activities will be disclosed in November. In addition, it will develop two types of educational manuals tailored to the level of children and teenagers and provide preventive education for elementary and middle school students starting from this coming November so that they recognize the seriousness of digital sex crimes at an early age.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government is also providing digital sex crime prevention education to police officers at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s cyber investigation teams in charge of directly investigating digital sex crimes. A total of 11 rounds of education session will be provided to about 300 police officers from 33 cyber investigation teams. The education is focused on types of cyber sexual violence, matters to be attended when they investigate the digital sex crimes, and gender sensitive issues of gender violence investigations.