Promoting Active GPS Technology to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Promoting Active GPS Technology to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence

The following blog entry was written by Amanda Dyson.

Laws for sex offenders to wear global positioning system (GPS) devices vary by state. Some states, such as Missouri, Florida, Oklahoma, and Ohio, require certain sex offenders to wear GPS bands for life. Currently, it is not mandatory for abusers in domestic violence cases to wear a GPS tracking device; people are speaking up about this issue.

In March, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz spoke out for legislation he calls the Erika Bill, which would require any individual with an order of protection issued due to domestic violence to wear an ankle GPS monitoring device. The bill is named after Erika Delia, who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend while a restraining order was in effect.  Ortiz made the point that “every 15 seconds an instance of domestic violence occurs.”

Active GPS technology is the safest option for all victims of abuse. Passive GPS tracking devices seem insufficient when compared to newly available active GPS devices that alert domestic abuse victims by call or text if an abuser is in close range.

This May, a sex offender in Northern California, Leonard Scroggins, removed his passive GPS tracking device. Though this technology is used with other crime prevention strategies, Scroggins was still able to make it to San Diego, where he attacked four women within two days. If he were wearing an active GPS that immediately alerted authorities when cut off, time could have been saved and lives protected.

Passive GPS tracking bands require an individual to physically observe a wearer’s activity at intervals while active GPS bands are able to send instant alerts via cell phones if a wearer violates area guidelines. Active GPS technology costs around $10-$15 a day. The small devices combine GPS and cellular technologies and do not require proximity to a separate stationary transmission box as other available monitoring systems do. These new devices may also help domestic violence victims to feel more secure that their abuser will not be able to get close without warning. Though some GPS companies advertise active GPS technology and may provide 24 hour monitoring, not all devices are said to provide cell phone alerts.

Active GPS technology has become available for local authorities to implement in cases. Recently, GPS Monitoring Solutions demonstrated its active GPS product in California for court employees, lawyers and victims of domestic violence. Their technology concentrates on victim notification and provides real-time location tracking with the TrackerPal.

A Texas based company, Satellite Tracking of People LLC, provides a BlueTag Active band that transmits data at least once every ten minutes. Attorney General and Minister of Justice Kim Wilson wore an ankle bracelet for one week to test the device and feels that it could serve as an incentive for rehabilitation for offenders and cut down on prison populations in Bermuda.

As GPS devices continue to improve and individuals help to speak out on behalf of domestic violence, technology can be used as a safer and more reliable option to protect victims of abuse.

Last year, Cherry Simpson wrote for the Survivor’s Blog on how GPS tracking kept her daughter safe in an abusive relationship. Read her story here. This is only one example of how GPS technology has helped in a domestic violence situation, surely there are many more. Victims of domestic violence can seek an order of protection, but a piece of paper is not always enough. Active GPS devices should still be used in combination with other safety measures and victims should remain alert to the reality that the technology is not foolproof.


Comment section

0 replies
  1. I am sad to say that even at 14 I have witnessed dating violence with my friends. I never really thought about it before. Domestic violence is like a man hurting a woman not some guy in school hitting his girlfriend. But one of my best friends is going through a dangerous relationship right now and she’s only 14. So it happens. I found this article and it started to make sense. Here’s the link:

    1. If you know someone is abused in any way please keep in touch with them, They are going to need this kind of friendship. They may think not but it is o.k.
      There is a lot of information about Domestic Violence in all Library’s across the country.
      I am advocate against Domestic Violence in Missouri. I help victims. I tell them to be a strong not a Victim any more. People don’t deserve to be abused. Our lives are very precious and some short.
      This mess didn’t start over night,and won’t get better over night. It is a ongoing challenge but can get better and safer.
      Get a Hotline # keep it with you at all times. If can’t # please call 911.
      Good luck to you and friend.

      1. hi my name is XXXXXX i am 25 yrs old for the last almost 2yrs i was dating a man who was 27 and i was 3months pregnent it was sept 5 2009 my ex and i got into a fight about sexual things i didnt wanna do so he got mad and grabbed me and threw me on the floor i blacked out for 5-10 seconds i ran to his moms room and she just sat there and watched him hit me and pull my hair i had a big black and blue mark on my elbow and i had to go to the police for it before all this happend he use to spit in my face rip my clothes call me names he pushed my head in the window while we were driving he always told me to shut the f up i am now having another baby to him but it wasnt ment to be he held me down after telling him i didnt wanna get prenent again he just laugh at me it hurt me so bad b/c i have a 6month old and i am doing everything by myself and now i dont no what to do b/c i dont no how i am going to take care of my kids his family and him sit and smoke pot and they wouldnt care if they didnt it in front of the kids…… when i was w/him my mom told me to get out but i didnt b/c i thought i loved him and i thougth it was normal what he was doing to me now i feel scared going out in public and going were he might be i have a pfa on him but i feel that wouldnt help


    1. i dont know where to start. I ask the same question everyday. I feel that victims of domestic violence are a group of people who others(abusers,police,lawyers,judges,people who claim to be wanting to help using the bible as one of the tools to make you feel quility again, grown children) are waiting for us to die off and then there will be no more problem.

      1. You said that so well, Brenda… I, myself, am in a situation of ongoing domestic violence, but the culprit is no longer in my physcal life within my home, but does that really matter?
        I was with this man for 3 1/2 years, thankfully not married, a big mistake, but lonely widows so do tend to do foolish things, this was mine… Finally he began drifting away, but every time he left i felt relief not sorrow… however, he abandoned a dog here who had lived with me from the beginning of the relationship (passing it off as leaving her in lieu of doing work for me and with no closing date but, in fact, he did not have her registered to him when he left her; long expired). He was physically violent with the dog as well as with my other dogs and he also stole the dog from here in an abusive manner to the dog as well as to me…I went to where he had moved to make certain the dog was not badly injured for she had lived with me, abandoned by him also, since 2004, now this was 2007… All she had to do was hear my voice and she ran out of where she was and to my car…Instead of remaining there being verbally abused again by this jerk, I went to my car where the dog had run and left with her…finally registering her in my name, also she is now tih a microchip as well…
        I am about to renew my 2nd R.O against this jerk, but the law enforcement here is worthless especially when the courts drop criminal charges against him with some flimsy excuse that we are in a civil litigation that he is allowed…
        All that lit is about is to over ride my R.O. and to use the legal system to scam $4,999 from me… And this “so-called justice” is allowed…
        He does not want this dog, except maybe to kill her to try another form of a case to hurt me and destroy her because she chose me that day in 2007 over him because he also had to drag and coerce her when he stole her from here in 2007, but that did not work so he violently, in a dangerous manner that could have broke her spine, picked her up to toss her into the back of his van where a thud and yelp from her was heard… he refused to let me see if she was injured and used a violent force physically towards me…
        I can answer “YES” to almost every question of “Are you being abused?” in regards to this man… Instead of understanding all the aspects of DV, our courts are allowing this, vexatious litigate (I am not the only legal scam he has perpetrated within Pima County judicial systems)… And Legal Aid will not help with a lawyer for this is a civil matter, not seeing as a form of DV, which it actually is…Some system we have, isn’t it great; no wonder there is so many innocent victims of such acts dead because the law would not pay attention and listen!!!!

        1. The system here in Sacramento is horrible too. He’s going to kill me mark my words and his useless probation officer won’t violate him. I have a criminal and a family court restraining order and he’s on felony probation and supposedly he would go to prison if he bothered me. He comes to my house almost daily and torments me steals from me and torments my kids and still doesn’t get violated.. I try so hard to tell people he’s going to kill me nobody believes me. He even admits that he feels he won’t be able to stop if he starts and he readily admits that he prob will kill me and do life in prison. I know he will

  3. I thought when you take a vow to love,honor,obey,according to the bible and Gods laws,domestic violence was some thing I never heard of. I thought when you are married, you should feel safe. I thought feeling safe would last forever. The first time I had ever been hit in the face and on the side of my head lossing my hearing for 3 days,I couldn’t remember what I thought. I went through 30 years of ‘ I thought it would be dfferent when I was hit the last time.

    1. Are you still with this man? If so, read my posting after yours. If you are a born-again Christian, remember you’re not suffering for Christ’s sake, which is only when you suffer for your faith. This suffering that is going on with abused women, brings no honor to God or anyone. God will forgive you for leaving, because the only unforgiven sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Never tell the man you’re leaving. Disappear.

  4. I broke free from a very abusive man, by prayer and the grace of God. Now I am free! It’s been five years and I live with dignity and peace. I am ready for remarriage. I know that women who allow abuse, do it due to emotional attachment that they mistaken for love. Love is beautiful and not at all like abuse. I was molested as a child, so I was attracted to abusive men and now that I know the reason, I look for red flags in any relationship before it becomes serious.
    The real reason why I am sending this, is that I have befriended a woman in church who is in a very abusive marriage. Her husband waits until she’s deeply asleep from her anti-psychotic medication, then punches her anywhere on her body. She wakes up black and blue or the bruises turn that way a few days later. He pretends to have had nightmares. Her therapist, friends and relatives have warned her about the danger. Unbelievably she prays that God woudl make her love the husband “with all her heart, soul and mind”, but clearly God demands that only for God Himself! She has this thing mixed up in her mind. I told her that if she left the husband, she could pray for him anywhere she is. She has to learn enough self-love and understand how much God loves her, then she’ll be ready to leave.

  5. I would like to know if when a woman left her husband and take away his children, just because he dont have much money (Plumber)not much work since the recesion, she not treat him right, living with her mother for months but finally she left the city were my brother live taking away his children. My brother is in this situation and he is very depress, crying alot and Im very worry about him.
    Is this domestic violence?

  6. I have had abusers get to the point of lying and creating ways to mass stalk. A show, video tapes, contacting of family friends others. And I have no ways to stop them. They have shown edited information slanted information to discredit me. They have labeled me an addict which with the amount of information they have about me has caused me to be unable to get assistance. I live in fear as to what they would do next if I ask for assistance from attorneys.,, therapists ect..people that I depend on but am unable to speak about because of the amount of surveillance they have put me under. I read recently and the amount of people and the previous responses of violence and fake tears that they use. They discuss information or say things about me to others without allowing me to speak or give my side of the story. They have contacted people and continuously affect me so that I can not regain control over my life in manners that I have had before. They blame crack cocaine, they have blamed crystal meth, they have tried to use the molestations in my life and others have never taken into consideration the graphic arts or video that are shown but that i have not been able to view. They destroy my name giving my information to others accessing email account phone numbers and saying I believe anything that i hear. When I have noticed a noticed change in people i have associated with who should not have any knowledge of what i do in my home. see documents civil and criminal as i give my history and am honest but others are not look up my name in civil documents criminal documents and the names that are associated with see that there is no pattern except those created by the abusers…..I give that permission and then let me tell my story of abuse let me support and explain what my point of view is. I need help in san francisco, ca
    and I need someone to make or call police to support me or provide support or a place that i can go to that will accept men who are victims of domestic violence… I am not perfect but i do not deserve to have my life destroyed by exes with more money more power and more people then me…contact me XXX-XXX-XXXX i am aware that my abusers or their friends may use this but perhaps there are people who have been successful in this area or who will pay attention and help even if it is not a legal or legit. manner. I dream sometimes of some type of underground group of victims who will assist each other in getting information or investigatioins of abusers underway…

  7. To protect your safety, we have removed identifying information from this post. Please call the Hotline at 800-799-7233 for support. We are available 24 hours a day and we are completely confidential and anonymous.

      1. Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve gone through and removed last names to reduce the amount of identifying information. It’s a good reminder that full names, and even real names don’t have to be provided to post.
        Our Community Guidelines encourage all posters to refrain from posting identifying information to make this a safe environment to speak out.
        Thanks again for bringing this to our awareness.

  8. I also do not know where to start. I am taking are of my 90 mother, who has been a verbal and phycological abuser my whole life. My younger brother also lives with us and is the biggest problem as he is a tweeker (meth) he has been leeching oof my mother for20 years, now I have cut him off financially and he has become an animal. He wants me to die and he says he wants to watch me die, this is really scarry!!! I don’t sleep much these nights. He yells and screams obsinities,and last week smashed his hand into my face. I don’t know what to do as my Mom is a Co. He comes and goes all night long through his window, and has taken all the food we had for the week to his friends, who are also tweekers.If I go to the athorities he will surely distroy everything in the house and most likely harm me, and force my Mom into a nursing home. How do I handle this?

    1. Hi L,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us on our blog. It sounds like you have been under a great amount of stress with all you have been through with your family. Here at the National Domestic Violence Hotline we do have resources where you can get support for family members of drug and alcohol abuse. In addition to those resources we would be happy to provide resources for support at the local Domestic Violence program as well. I’m concerned about your safety, Domestic and Family Violence does escalate and it sounds like there is physical abuse involved. Your situation sounds pretty intense. We would love to be able to problem solve with you and assist you by safety planning and providing resources. Feel free to call our anonymous and confidential hotline 24 hours a day at 1-800-799-7233.

      NDVH Advocate

  9. I could right a book. My first experience of dv occured in my teen years. Although sadly I did not realize that what was occurring was abuse. I would be thrown into walls, pushed, choked. This was my life for my entire hs years until he cheated and I was no longer blind. I spent the years after in Healthy relationships, married at 20 to a man I thought was wonderful. We did everything together. Worked together, food shopping together, banking together. Never fought about anything more than the remote control for the TV. I lost ALL of my friends although I had remained close to family. I had no idea I was being controlled and isolated. I dotted on him, got out his clothes in the morning even helped physically get him dress. His life had to be perfect and he demand that. Still I was blind. I existed for him and I was neglecting myself. We owned a business together, there was never any escape. When I turned 25 we had our son. Unfortunatley this is when the physical and emotional abuse started. Having a child to care for meant that my focus was no longer on him. He could not stand it he could not deal because he was no longer the center of my universe. He treated our son like a piece of furniture he old me he wanted an than changed his mind once it was in our living room. Still with parental responsibilities I was not neglecting his needs. I juggled as much as I could as woman do. Although on the surface things looked fine inside I was treading water. I was drowning and I has to save myself. I tried to work on myself and gain a little of my self back. Thats when the physical abuse started. I tried going to kick boxing class for and hour here and there doing the week. To him his world must have been falling apart. He must have seen it as him losing control over me. I was not allowed to go to the grocery store without him. I made some friends in kick boxing, female companionship I had lost since I had met him. I felt alot better about myself. It could have been good for us but he didn’t like that he no longer controlled my every move. Perhaps he felt insecure. That was not what I wanted. I left one evening to go grab a movie with some of the ladies from my class leaving our son in his care. Up to this point he was never violent so I did not see this as a problem. While I was gone (3 hours) he was home consuming the contents of a Whiskey bottle. He was never a drinker! I came home and he was completely drunk and Beligerent! I was stunned but asked him to please go to bed. I had no idea I was going to endure one of the worse nights of my life. I checked to see our son breathing in his bed. Thank you God! I closed the door but HE would not go to sleep. He followed my around turning off light switches as I turned them on. He had this crazed look. He became enraged and intimidating, kicking out our air-conditioning unit in the bedroom window. I ran from the room and he followed. I tried to calm him but that was not working. I has to get the baby and get out. I grabbed our son and locked us in the bathroom. That night I was bitten by him like a vicious animal, thrown down the stairs with the baby, held hostage at knife point. I was able to escape early the next morning when I was able to take the only phone left connected to the wall off the hook and dial 911. That was just the beginning. Do not allow yourself to isolated, learn what the patterns of abuse are never allow yourself to be controlled. Never give your power to someone else. Patterns of abuse start at an early age and we allow ourselves to be victims again and again. Heed the warnings given to you by your new loves ex. She may be speaking the truth and he may be withholding the truth from you.

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