Keeping Track of Domestic Violence Abusers

120px-Old_bracelets_%28aka%29.jpgHawaii, Michigan, and other states now permit courts to grant protective orders requiring domestic violence abusers to wear GPS devices that would notify authorities and victims of an abuser’s whereabouts. In some states such as Illinois, the device would let the victim know if the defendant is within a certain distance from the victim’s home or work. Such protective orders have great potential to prevent or stop abuse–abusers often target victims at their workplaces. Some domestic violence advocates worry that the technology may give victims a false sense of security because technology is, of course, imperfect. A GPS system does a victim little good if a system provides notice of an offender’s location via cell phone and the victim has traveled to a spot with no cell service and the offender is too close to the victim to allow the authorities to come to her aid before the offender strikes. Aside from technical difficulties, victims surely leave their home and work areas and thus would be unprotected if the GPS device only notifies victims when an offender has traveled within the zone of exclusion, i.e., the victim’s home and work. Nonetheless, the use of a GPS system could play an important role in a larger effort to deter domestic violence. Harvard’s Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Journal has devoted scholarly attention to the issue that is worth serious study.

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1 Response

  1. Guesty McGuesterston says:

    This is a particularly uninspiring post. This topic has been seriously debated over the past few years and one would think that included would be a discussion of the various scholarly pieces written on the subject (Harvard’s CR-CL just published a symposium entitled: GPS Monitoring of Domestic Violence Offenders: Correlative Rights and the Boundaries of Freedom: Protecting the Civil Rights of Endangered Women). Massachusetts is where these policies began, they are closely tied with other initiatives such as danger assessment and batter intervention, and other states are seriously considering the idea. Check out this news report from Rhode Island: http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_wpri_gps_tracking_domestic_abusers_20081111

    Or you could just post some blather without significant content. Your call.