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Greater surveillance of domestic abusers protects their victims from escalating violence.
Ms. Valencia is a writer and clinician who specializes in treating trauma.
Every 16 hours, a woman in the United States is fatally shot by a current or former partner. Intimate partner homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women in the country, with nearly half of all murdered women killed by a partner.
But there are steps that can be taken to prevent more murders. Repeat offenders are less likely to kill if they are regularly monitored by law enforcement. In order to closely monitor offenders, all states should create comprehensive batterer databases to track domestic abusers who repeatedly violate restraining orders. Currently, states vary significantly in how they handle repeat violations. The failure of law enforcement and district attorney offices to communicate has cost victims their lives.
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High-risk, repeat offenders should also be required to wear a GPS tracking device — in the form of an ankle bracelet — when released on bail. With this type of GPS tracker the police can speak directly to the offender through a built-in speakerphone. If an abuser goes outside the permitted boundaries or attempts to travel to the victim’s home or job, the device sets off an alarm. Both the police and the victim are alerted.