» Strong link between school violence and juvenile delinquency in the Republic of Korea
20.03.2017 - Education Sector

Strong link between school violence and juvenile delinquency in the Republic of Korea

Judge Sunmi Lee

Of the 210 juvenile cases (aged between 10 and 18 at the time of the offence, arrest, or referral to court) handled between September and December 2016 in the Family Court of Daejeon, the fifth largest city in the Republic of Korea, 60.9 per cent had a history of school violence under the School Violence Act or the Juvenile Act.

This provides a snapshot of the extent of interrelations between school violence and other anti-social behaviour among children and adolescents. Daejeon has the fourth largest number of juvenile cases in the Republic of Korea.

Family Court Judge, Sunmi Lee, revealed the statistics during a plenary session at the International Symposium on School Violence and Bullying: From Evidence to Action, organized by UNESCO and the Institute of School Violence Prevention at Ewha Womans University in Seoul in January 2017.

Ms Lee went on to explain that 35.7  per cent of those young offenders (i.e. 75 persons) were tried for school violence, and of that number, 41 had a history of trouble with the law, and 15 had more than 3 previous convictions.

She also explained that even among those indicted for crimes other than school violence (135), 38.5 per cent had a previous history of school violence. Larceny was the most common of other juvenile delinquencies, followed by sexual assault, and internet fraud, she said.

The percentage of repeat juvenile offenders who were convicted more than three times rose from 9.2 per cent in 2008 to 18.8 per cent in 2014.

Ms Lee believes one of the factors for this increased recidivism may be the recent and wide use of social media, “Individual juvenile delinquents can much more easily communicate with each other through social media, spreading anti-social views, and learning criminal skills.”

Ms Sunmi Lee was appointed as a judge in 2005, and is a member of the International Hague Network of Judges, which works for cooperation between judges in ensuring the effective operation of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

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