Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Healey Proposes GPS Tracking to Protect Domestic Violence Victims

Bill also gives prosecutors new tools to protect crucial witnesses in gang crimes

by / February 18, 2005
Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey recently filed first-in-the-nation legislation that will use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to protect victims of domestic violence from their abusers and witnesses of gang crimes from dangerous or life-threatening situations.

Noting that violent abusers far too often scare their victims into hiding, Healey said the proposed legislation will allow the courts to require abusers who violate their restraining orders to wear a GPS monitoring device as a condition of their probation. The GPS technology will alert the victim and law enforcement officials if the offender enters certain restricted areas, including the victim's home, workplace and child's school.

"To break free from horrific relationships, victims of domestic violence and their families should not be forced to abandon their lives," said Healey.

If the abuser enters the GPS exclusion zones -- which are pre-determined by the court -- probation will be revoked and the defendant will be fined or re-incarcerated. Abusers who violate the conditions of their restraining order will be punished by up to a $5,000 fine or up to 2