Benefits of GPS

GPS Monitoring Is the Least Restrictive Means to Ensure the Victim’s Protection

  • GPS monitoring is a very successful way to prevent further abuse/homicide and represents a minimal invasion of the batterer’s liberty.
  • GPS monitoring allows for immediate response when the batterer enters the victim’s liberty zone thereby allowing for greater opportunities to save lives.
  • Without this type of monitoring protection orders are useless and the victim has no meaningful way to escape the abuse of the batterer.

GPS Monitoring Does Not Restrict the Batterer’s Liberty

  • Batterers are subject to GPS monitoring when they commit a criminal act by violating their protective orders. The alternative to GPS monitoring is jail. Therefore, GPS monitoring actually enhances the batterer’s liberty by allowing him to remain in the community.
  • By violating the protective order the batterer has become a criminal and his expectation of privacy is significantly reduced.
  • Protective orders are not issued without procedural protections. There is a hearing when the protective order is first issued and a second hearing to determine whether GPS monitoring is appropriate.
  • The batterer has no reasonable expectation of privacy in public. It would be permissible for an individual to follow the batterer around to ensure compliance with the protective order. GPS monitoring is merely a substitute for this method of enforcing compliance.

Concerns have been raised that the use of GPS may create a false sense of security for women, causing them to be less vigilant and worried about their safety. GPS is an incredibly effective tool, but no system is perfect; GPS does not stop the offender from acquiring a gun and shooting the victim before the police arrive at the scene, or keep him from sending his victim flowers or threatening notes, emailing her, or harassing her by telephone.

However, it is possible that the state can implement GPS in a manner that reduces a false sense of security for women.

  • Making GPS part of a larger community-based system involving high-risk teams – The victim must be provided with an advocate to monitor her batterer and perform continuous risk assessments. Those implementing and monitoring the program must trust victims and risk assessments when they indicate that an offender is dangerous. If the victim becomes too dependent on the system, the state should make the system stronger, by incorporating more police involvement.
  • Providing victims with updated and accurate information about the benefits and limitations of GPS technology – Victims must have a manual explaining how the GPS monitoring and alerts work, and support groups so they can see how the program has affected other women.
  • Educating police on the limits of GPS technology and monitoring offenders accordingly – Police cannot rely too heavily on the technology, must remain active in monitoring the victim, and need contingency plans to deal with each violation.
  • Knowing the limits of GPS technology – GPS devices do not cover telephone conversations, email or U.S. mail. The state should provide the victim with a recording device to record when the batterer calls her home and collect all emails and U.S. mail.