GPS Monitoring Systems for Batterers: A New Paradigm of Offender Accountability and Victim Safety
Monday, June 25, 2007 12:16 PM

The most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when she leaves the perpetrator. When a woman leaves her abuser, she strips him of his control and power, which often provokes an angry and violent response. During this period, the woman is at an increased risk of becoming a victim of homicide; furthermore, some criminal justice systems may not offer sufficient protection to battered women. Massachusetts is taking innovative steps to improve the response to domestic violence.

A recent bill entitled “An Act Relative to Enhanced Protection for Victims of Domestic Violence” gives judges the option to order an offender to wear a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) monitoring system if he violates the order of protection. The court can set up geographic exclusion zones such as the victim’s home, work and her children’s school. If the offender enters the geographic exclusion zone, the victim and the police are notified.

This technological advancement, together with the use of danger assessments, can help the authorities analyze the patterns of domestic violence and prevent future lethal attacks on battered women.

Compiled from: "GPS Monitoring Systems for Batterers: Exploring a New Paradigm of Offender Accountability and Victim/Survivor Safety," Diane Rosenfeld, Domestic Violence Report, April/May 2007.