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Domestic violence cases handled by police last year surged 20.1 percent to 25,210, the most since the first annual survey was conducted in 2002, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

An NPA official attributed the increase to the January revision of the domestic violence prevention law, which protects current or former spouses, partners or their children from not only physical violence but other forms of threats, including harassment through repeated phone calls.

The survey covered cases in which victims filed reports and police judged them to have been involved in incidents of violence.

The NPA counted 2,534 serious cases where courts issued restraining orders to prevent violence by spouses or other family members under the domestic violence prevention law, a 13.2 percent increase from the preceding year.

Violations of the law due to restraining orders being ignored totaled 76, down 10.6 percent, the NPA said.

The police also handled 1,650 cases of domestic violence cases under other laws, up 4.4 percent, including 77 homicides, 504 assaults and 871 cases in which the victims were injured.

The number of stalking cases handled in 2008 rose 8.9 percent to 14,657, the NPA said. Cases in which a warning was issued based on the stalking regulation law totaled 1,335, down 3.5 percent, while stalking-based harassment rose 0.8 percent to 244 cases.

Among stalking cases handled not based on the stalking regulation law, those resulting in murder totaled 11, up eight.

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