The waiting time is getting longer, the threshold is getting higher… Sunflower Center’s ‘victim center’ gap


[젠더폭력, 빈틈을 비추다] 3rd time
A place to turn for victims of sexual and domestic violence
Increased waiting time for victim investigation
Although the scope of support for child abuse has been widened,
The number of centers in Seoul is rather decreasing.

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‘hidden camera’ is called ‘illegal filming’. ‘Pornography’ is called ‘sexual exploitation’. These are the changes they witnessed after reporting the reality of digital sexual exploitation on Telegram in November 2019. The range of changes was wide, from citizens’ susceptibility to sexual violence to the establishment of related policies and the enactment and revision of laws. However, the picture of actual reduction of sexual crimes and recovery of damages is still incomplete. This is because there are a number of unresolved issues ranging from reporting, investigation, trial and victim support. The pain of any victim at each stage cannot be alleviated. But the interest is different. This is because we want to continue to illuminate the gaps in the damage that have received less attention in detail.

“It was very different from the Sunflower Center I learned in school.” A, a teenage woman, visited a sunflower center in Seoul late on the night of the 15th. It was right after the rape incident. The first thing Mr. A, who was accompanied by the police, heard from a night watchman at the center was, ‘You didn’t call? That shouldn’t be… .’ Reservations are not required before visiting the Sunflower Center. The watcher measured A’s body temperature twice. 37.4 degrees and 37.5 degrees came out. In the rush to collect evidence as soon as possible, Mr. A cried and begged to have his body temperature taken one more time. However, the center adhered to the position that it was impossible, and in the end, Mr. A, at his own expense, was tested for COVID-19 at the hospital and was prescribed a post-mortem contraceptive pill. The receipt had 46,000 won stamped on it. “I was in a panic because if I didn’t collect evidence quickly, the traces of the crime would disappear, and if I didn’t harm myself, I was in unbearable pain,” said Mr. It was rejected, and I was only allowed to enter the sunflower center after the Corona 19 test result came back negative the next morning.” Sunflower Center is no exception to compliance with quarantine guidelines. A knows it too. But what was disastrous was the fact that in all this process, he did not hear a single word of comfort from anyone, ‘Are you okay? Mr. A said, “I was told to go to the Sunflower Center immediately if I was sexually assaulted during sex education at school. However, the sunflower center I personally visited actually hurt me. There was no one who cared about my heart, which had only been 4 hours since the crime, and everyone put forward only the principles.” In this regard, the sunflower center said, “If the temperature reaches 37.5 degrees, entry is not allowed in principle, so no additional body temperature measurement was performed. “I feel deeply responsible for not being able to provide sufficient comfort to the victims.”

The Sunflower Center is the only place of recourse for victims of sexual violence. Counselors, police, and medical staff are resident 365 days a year to provide investigation, medical care, counseling, and legal support to victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, prostitution, and child abuse. In 2003, after an elementary school student was sexually assaulted by a 50-year-old man on the street, the need for a ‘one-stop victim support organization’ emerged, and the first in 2004 occurred Over the past 17 years, the number has increased to 39 locations across the country, and awareness has also increased. However, recently, some of the Sunflower Centers have pointed out that there are gaps in the principle of ‘victim-centredism’. It is pointed out that the need to ‘wait’ to receive support is occurring more frequently than before, and the threshold for use experienced in the field is also increasing. The reason and role of the Sunflower Center is to quickly provide the various supports urgently requested by victims, but cracks are being discovered in terms of urgency and accessibility. Mr. B, a worker at the Sunflower Center, said that the number of victims waiting for investigation support has increased significantly recently. This is because the number of visitors increased as support for victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, and prostitution, as well as general child abuse victims. Mr. B said, “I counted approximately one in ten cases where victims of sexual violence receive investigation support, such as recording statements on the same day.” It can even take up to.” Shin Jin-hee, a publicly appointed lawyer in charge of victims of sexual crimes, also said, “It is true that the waiting time becomes longer when the number of victims of child abuse increases more than in the past.” In fact, according to the ‘2020 Police Statistical Yearbook’ released by the police, the number of visitors to the center due to child abuse increased 35.7% from 1953 in 2018 to 2,651 in 2020. If the investigation support is delayed, it is disadvantageous to the victim as well. C, a former worker at the Sunflower Center, said, “It is best for those who have had traumatic experiences to receive an investigation within 5 days at the latest.” Especially for children or people with intellectual disabilities, ‘quickness’ is more important. When child abuse occurs at home, the victim is separated from their parents and goes to a shelter. If the waiting period is long, victims who have had difficulties living in a shelter may change their statements because they want to go home. Victims of intellectual disabilities sometimes use the vocabulary they heard from counselors or medical staff in the course of their statements to question the reliability of their statements. Lawyer Shin said, “Unless there are exceptional cases, such as an incident that occurred several years ago, the sooner the better to investigate or record a statement.” The Sunflower Center can be used by anyone who is a victim of sexual violence, domestic violence, or prostitution. Whether ‘eventization’ is not an obstacle to use. In a phone call with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, an official from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family reconfirmed, “Even if you do not file a 112 report or file a criminal complaint, evidence collection and investigation support are possible.” However, in some sites a different principle was being applied. A sexual violence victim support activist said, “Youth are hesitant to report the case to their parents or guardians, but there were cases where some centers offered a policy of ‘reporting the case to the police first and then collecting evidence’. “If you are hesitant to report and hear that ‘you have to file a report before you come to apply’, you will become dazed by the complexity of the procedure and worry that your intention to report will be broken.” The reason for the crack in the victim-centredism, which can be seen as the principle of operating the Sunflower Center, is that the amount of support needed increases, but appropriate resources are not provided in a timely manner. Required roles are increasing, but material and human resources are not being supported to that extent. Sunflower Center’s support area is gradually expanding, including supporting victims of child abuse and stalking, including sexual violence. However, in February of this year, the Northern Seoul Sunflower Center was closed, and the Seoul Central Sunflower Center is about to end its operation this month. As there is a vacancy in support for child abuse victims in Nowon-gu, Dobong-gu, Gangbuk-gu, and Seongbuk-gu, where the youth population is relatively large even in Seoul, it is inevitable that the burden of other centers will increase. Looking at the youth population statistics of Seoul, the youth population (0-18 years old) in Nowon-gu, Dobong-gu, Gangbuk-gu, and Seongbuk-gu is 216,952, which is 2.6 times more than the youth population of 82,075 in Jung-gu, Jongno-gu, Geumcheon-gu, and Yongsan-gu. An official from the Ministry of Leisure said, “We informed the center that the ‘waiting’ problem is a problem that occurs in some sunflower centers, and that evidence can be collected regardless of whether or not a report is filed in the second half of this year. said. By Choi Yoon-ah, staff reporter [email protected]

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