Domestic violence GPS tracking breakthrough gains traction

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3M has launched a bi-lateral domestic violence prevention system that continuously tracks the location of both the aggressor and survivor, raising an alert if they come within proximity to one another.

The company is now lobbying to have legislation enacted to allow courts and police to mandate the use of the system. 

Not currently used for defendants of domestic violence charges but by defence lawyers looking to increase chances of getting bail while awaiting trial, the Bi-Lateral Domestic Violence prevention solution successfully launched in Europe and the US back in 2009.  3M is now hoping the government will enact legislative changes to require aggressors to use the new technology.

“3M are committed to raising awareness with both Governments and stakeholders and informing them a DV prevention solution is available,” 3M business development manager and former NSW police officer Richard Lord told Australasian Lawyer.

“There is currently no Legislation in place for Courts to mandate the use of this technology to either police or Corrective Services.”

The system sets off alerts, received by the survivor and a monitoring centre, in stages ranging from a soft alert at several kilometres away to a high alert at 100 metres.  It features a panic button in case of an immediate threat.

“The system empowers women to go about their normal lives freely, without the need to change address, phone numbers and without threat or constraint,” Lord said.

On Monday, federal member for Bennelong John Alexander mentioned the new technology and spoke of the measures the Turnbull Government is implementing to combat violence against women.

“As is often the case, technology can also have its golden edge and offer positive opportunities for the protection of women and the deterrence of violence,” he said in parliament.

“I am planning to host the Minister for Social Services and the Minister for Women for a tour of the 3M innovation centre in Bennelong to see firsthand the opportunity presented by this technological breakthrough.”

The South Australian Law Society said it supports the mandated use of electronic monitoring for domestic violence aggressors.

 “The Law Society encourages use of technology to improve and assist our criminal justice system, as long as the rights of citizens – including those on bail – are protected,” said president David Caruso.

“GPS tracking devices could be useful tools for monitoring compliance with bail conditions, particularly non-contact conditions.”