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Gov't to toughen punishment of child abuse at daycare centers

All Headlines 15:46 January 16, 2015

SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean health ministry and ruling party on Friday unveiled plans to toughen punishment of child abuse at nursery schools in response to a recent assault on a 4 year old that sent shockwaves throughout the country.

The new "one-strike" guidelines would close any daycare center involved in even a single instance of child abuse, and permanently ban the perpetrator and facility's director from the sector, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the ruling Saenuri Party.

The current regulations allow for an institution to be shut down after three cases of abuse. Only a child's death or the conviction of a teacher for abuse can bring about the immediate closure of an institution.

The plan would also require all nursery schools to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and disclose footage on parents' request. According to data, only 9,081, or 21 percent, of daycare centers across the country currently have CCTVs.

"Currently, we tend to depend on judicial decisions for the shutdown of abusive childcare centers due to legal flaws," said the health ministry. "We will revise the laws to empower the authorities to close such institutions and suspend the teachers."

The government's move came days after the disclosure of CCTV footage of a 33-year old female teacher striking a 4-year-old girl at a daycare center in Incheon, west of Seoul.

The case caused widespread public outrage.

The police are planning to seek a warrant for the teacher on Friday on charges of child abuse.


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