Coalition pledges $20 million in GPS tracking for perpetrators of domestic violence

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The Coalition has invested $150 million (US$110 million) in a range of measures to prevent domestic and sexual violence, including a $20 million fund for electronic monitoring of high-risk domestic violence perpetrators .

The package includes $54.6 million to keep up to 30,000 victim-survivors safe in their homes through safety assessments, as well as $26.6 million for online safety initiatives. The government has also provided an additional $46 million to continue the “Stop it at the Start” campaign, which aims to raise awareness of emerging issues such as technology-facilitated abuse.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator Marise Payne, noted that technology is part of the solution to living free from violence.

“Technology is a great enabler, and we want it to empower victim-survivors, but unfortunately it has become a weapon of choice for perpetrators of family, domestic and sexual violence,” Payne said.

“The Morrison government is committed to making Australian women safer in all settings, including online.”

“We have already taken significant steps to make Australians safer online by introducing the world’s first anti-bullying programs for adults and children. We’ve also reduced the takedown time for service providers to remove image-based abuse. »

During the nationwide electronic monitoring trial, high-risk domestic violence perpetrators will be fitted with ankle devices that are constantly monitored by GPS and other technologies.

It is based on the Tasmania Electronic Monitoring Model, which has monitored 136 offenders and provided GPS-monitored duress alarms to 75 victims since its inception in 2017.

Tasmania’s Attorney General Elise Archer said an independent review of the scheme, tabled in parliament in 2021, found it had increased police response times and significantly reduced dangerous incidents for victims.

Under the Tasmanian model, victims receive a duress alarm with GPS tracking capabilities. The attorney general noted that duress alarms provide victims “an extra layer of protection.” while GPS tracking gives them “assurance that police intervention is a priority in managing their safety”.

“We have established a dedicated unit with specialist officers within our Community Corrections to monitor all GPS devices across Tasmania and respond to critical risk situations,” Archer said in a press release on Monday.

“When an assailant’s movements indicate that an order has been violated or there is a risk to a victim, this team works to immediately manage the situation in real time and coordinate an immediate and proportionate response with Tasmania Police.”

However, a 2018 report by Australia’s National Research Organization for Women’s Safety found that electronic monitoring alone cannot keep victims of domestic violence safe, as it can only track the movements of abusers, while most forms of domestic and family violence go undetected.

Instead, it should be used as part of an overall case management program incorporating interventions that address individual risk and needs.

Tasmanian’s electronic monitoring trial in 2020 resulted in a 70% reduction in assaults, an 80% reduction in threats, an 89% reduction in psychological abuse allegations and a 100% reduction in reports of harassment.

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Nina Nguyen is a Sydney-based journalist. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Contact her at [email protected]

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