Since 2008, cities and states have begun using GPS monitoring technology for a variety of reasons. Currently over 12 states use GPS monitoring in domestic violence situations. The GPS tracking device is worn, typically on the ankle, notifying police and the perpetrator’s victim whenever s/he enters an off-limits zone, such as the areas surrounding the house, workplace, and children’s schools. This technology is being used for people who have already violated a domestic violence protective order (DVPO).
DVPOs can be a good form of legal advocacy to offer domestic violence victims. This is not always the case but when our Hotline Advocates meet with clients, we always talk about all of their options.
In North Carolina, if a DVPO is violated, it becomes an arrestable offense…when law enforcement can find the abuser. Once in custody, however, holding time and subsequent jail time (if the DA decides to try the case), vary. The GPS monitoring, then, is being touted as a way to save victims lives by keeping them potentially safer, longer by eliminating a lag time in which police or sheriff’s office need to find the DVPO violator. GPS monitoring is one step that some areas (earlier this week, Manitoba and Staten Island became the two latest areas to begin using GPS) are taking toward firmer legal action both against abusers and a stronger effort to protect abuse victims.
While GPS monitoring is not an option in Orange County currently, we think that it is an interesting way to help keep victims safe, in addition to safety planning, the consideration of a DVPO and options like address confidentiality or 911 cell phones for clients in need. In our new office (207 Wilson St in Chapel Hill!) and on our 24-hr crisis line, our advocates work with domestic violence survivors to meet them where they are at in terms of accessing their own safety and needs for themselves and their families. While GPS monitoring is not the solution or without flaws, the increasing number of cities and states that are implementing this technology shows an increase of awareness and care towards domestic violence victims. And we appreciate that!
For more information on safety planning or what you can do to help keep domestic violence survivors safe, contact our office on the crisis line at 929 7122.