Can GPS Systems Protect Women from Their Abusers?
Monday, August 18, 2008 12:35 PM

On August 4, 2008, Illinois became the seventh state to pass a law allowing judges to require domestic abusers who violate their restraining orders to wear a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) to track their whereabouts. When GPS systems are used, the responsibility of protection is shifted away from the woman, who usually has to leave her home to seek shelter after experiencing abuse, to her batterer.


GPS laws are controversial, since requiring a defendant to wear a GPS device pre-trial could be seen as a violation of his/her civil liberties; however, many states have statutes allowing them to detain potentially dangerous suspects, which in effect has the same result.


Up to 60 percent of restraining orders are violated each year, and in 2005, 1,181 women were killed by a former or current intimate partner. The use of GPS monitoring has been proven to lower the criminal relapse rate of batterers, but it must be used in conjunction with effective services for victims in order to be effective.


For the full article, click here.


Compiled from: “Tracking the Abusers: Can GPS Protect Women from Harm?Ms. Magazine, Summer 2008.