By Greg Bartlett
Every day, three women are killed and thousands more are injured in domestic violence incidents. In Maine, domestic violence accounts for 60% of homicides. Unfortunately, domestic violence has only increased in recent years, and merely issuing a restraining order is not enough to stop the violence and protect the victims. Many people ignore restraining orders and come back to injure and possibly kill the victim.In Wisconsin, two restraining orders were not able to stop an ex-boyfriend from murdering a woman. A few years ago in South Carolina, a man attacked his former girlfriend, was arrested, and then released on bail. Later he came back and held his former girlfriend hostage for a few hours in a grocery store before he finally killed her.
Unfortunately, these instances are not unusual. Authorities are looking for new ways to protect domestic violence victims so that they will not become homicide victims. One effective way is with GPS monitoring. The offender wears a monitor and can be tracked at all times. If he goes outside of permitted areas or comes within restricted areas, for instance the victim’s neighborhood or workplace, both the police and the victim can be alerted. The victim would then be able to avoid the offender and law enforcement, following the information from the GPS tracking unit, could intercept the offender before he reaches the victim.
Some programs use GPS monitoring only when offenders are deemed to be dangerous, and others use it only when the offenders have already violated restraining orders. In an effort to decrease domestic violence incidents and homicides, many states are pushing for legislation to require GPS monitoring for any domestic violence offenders.
For some domestic violence victims, getting away from the abuser is the spark which makes the abuser turn to lethal violence. For instance, the relationship may not be very violent until the woman leaves, and then the ex-boyfriend erupts in anger and violence. In one situation, when a woman moved out, her ex-boyfriend came after her with a gun and killed her, their child, and her parents.
Protecting the victim is more important than ever if the victim leaves the abusive situation, and GPS monitoring is one of the best solutions. Although by itself it cannot protect the victim, it can do more than restraining orders and can alert the police and the victim if the victim is in danger, thus protecting the victim from further injuries and preventing domestic violence homicides.