The system of suspending indictment of those guilty of domestic violence on the condition of counseling has gained public attention as it has proven to be more effective than punishment in preventing domestic violence. This 'suspension of indictment conditional on counseling' system sends the husbands for counseling rather than to prison, thereby protecting the victims while lessening hostility of the aggressors.
In order to deal with problems faced by youths and women more effectively, the Sangju Branch of the Daegu District Prosecution Office (branch headed by Kim Kang-wook) set up, based on the regulations of the Act on the Prevention of Domestic Violence, several counseling centers within the prosecution office to provide counseling related to domestic violence such as family counseling, family law consultation and youth counseling.
When a victim of domestic violence makes a report to the counseling center, the center will collect evidence to back up the report and then interview the aggressor. The center will explain that he is forbidden by law to beat his family members, and warn him that he will face serious legal consequences if he repeats the offense. After the interview, the center checks on the family on a weekly basis and appeals to the victim to report any repeat offenses.
As for domestic violence cases that the police hand over to the prosecution after police investigations, the prosecutor in charge will suspend indictment conditional on counseling and hand over the case to the counseling center. In the legal proceedings, the judge will take into account the written opinion of the counselor who was in charge of the case.
Court proceedings for most domestic violence cases take from three to six months. The counseling center revealed that the aggressors who were granted conditional suspension of indictment usually turned over a new leaf in a couple of months. Says a counselor, "The system was established for the first time in Korea, and it is quite well-received by victims of domestic violence. I hope the system will spread to other regions as well."