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Gov't launches task force to reform military's sexual abuse prevention system

All News 09:33 June 07, 2021

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry said it launched a task force Monday to improve the military's sexual abuse prevention system amid mounting criticism over the suicide of an Air Force noncommissioned officer who suffered sexual harassment.

The team, headed by the chief of the ministry's personnel and welfare office, will run until August to inspect how the military is handling sexual abuse cases and to come up with reform measures.

The launch of the task force came as an investigation is under way into the suicide last month of the Air Force master sergeant after she allegedly suffered sexual harassment by her colleague. The bereaved family has said the victim's superiors attempted to cover up the sexual violence and the military failed to respond to the victim's calls for support.

The task force will focus on measures to protect and provide support to sexual violence victims, improving the military's organizational culture and securing transparency and fairness in investigations, according to the ministry.

"We will make efforts to establish a military culture safe from sexual abuses based on a thorough review and improvement in the system," a senior ministry official said.

Later Monday, the victim's bereaved family was to file a complaint against an Air Force public defender on charges of dereliction of duty for allegedly failing to provide due support to the victim after being assigned to the case.

Defense Minister Suh Wook (R) bows to family of an Air Force officer who died by suicide following alleged harassment by a colleague, during his visit to a military hospital in Seongnam, south of Seoul, where the victim's body is laid, on June 2, 2021. During their meeting, Suh pledged a transparent and thorough investigation into the case. (Yonhap)


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