|Actress Kim Hye-yoon, the honorary ambassador for Seoul City's awareness campaign against cyber sexual violence, poses with a banner. The city government has launched a support system for victims of online sex crimes. / Courtesy of SMG|
By Kim Hyun-bin
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has launched a platform that is designed to help prevent online sex crimes and provide both online and offline aid to victims.
This is the country's first integrated support system for victims of sex crimes committed online, the city said Monday, and is being participated in by four organizations ― the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center and an association of sex crime consulting centers at colleges.
The platform, named the "On Seoul Safe" project, was created based on a survey of 3,678 female residents of the capital, in which 43 percent said they experienced sexual harassment both directly and indirectly online. However, only 7.4 percent of them reported the incidents; the others believed their report would not result in any punishment of the offenders.
For victims of online sex crimes, the platform provides comprehensive support measures, including online and offline consultations, help in drawing up and submitting complaints, filing police statements and lawsuits, and psychological counseling.
During the whole procedure, victims will get one-on-one help from an expert with over 10 years of experience.
The city government will also hire 40 professional lecturers to provide education on preventing online sex crimes at elementary and middle schools around the capital.
"Online sex crimes have become a severe issue so we will cooperate with the Seoul city government to provide systematic support for victims so they can better live their daily lives," said Bae Bok-ju, the head of the relief center.
Seoul City will also use a group of residents to monitor portals, social media and online communities and report sex crimes ― it has selected 753 people for this and provided them with training.
Between Oct. 21 and Nov. 25, they found 4,473 cases of suspected online sex crimes, including distributing and sharing of illegally taken explicit videos and sexual harassment.
The city has also initiated a public awareness campaign dubbed "IDOO" to encourage citizens to support victims of online sex crimes and participate in preventive measures. It appointed actress Kim Hye-yoon as an honorary ambassador for the campaign.
"Many have suffered from online sex crimes but kept the incidents to themselves," Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said. "With the launch of the On Seoul Safe project, we'll provide trust and encouragement to the victims so that they know the city government, along with public and private entities, will stand by them."