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New GPS Device To Help Warn Domestic Violence Victims About Abusers

If Attacker Enters Area He Or She Shouldn't Be, The Cavalry Will Be Notified
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Staten Island will begin using the devices to keep track of abusers starting next year. (credit: handout via CBS 2)

Staten Island will begin using the devices to keep track of abusers starting next year. (credit: handout via CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s a tragedy that happens all too often.  The victim of domestic violence gets a restraining order against her abuser, only to be beaten or killed when that order is ignored.

But now, new technology may give victims a fighting chance.

Maria Santiago knows what it feels like to be afraid. Growing up in the Bronx, and later at the hands of her boyfriend, she was the victim of domestic abuse.

“My life was always about looking over your shoulder and always feeling scared or feeling like I didn’t know when things were going to happen,” she told CBS 2’s Don Dahler.

But Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan is calling on technology to prevent women like Maria from having to keep looking over their shoulder, if their abuser has a court order to stay away.

As of the first of the year, Staten Island will begin using GPS tracking devices.

“This technology that exists now, that’s available to us, it would be a crime not to use it to protect women,” Donovan said.

The way it works is when the person wearing the device enters an area that courts have said he cannot go, the system immediately calls the woman and warns her.

“It’ll be different zones — maybe her home and maybe her workplace, maybe where the children go to school,” Donovan said.

The system also calls the district attorney’s office.

The monitoring of these devices costs about $10 a day, which will be paid for by the offender, not the victim and not the taxpayers. If the abuser can’t pay, Donovan said he’ll use witness protection funds.

“The people who are going to be required to wear this are people who are convicted of violating an order of protection already. They’ve already done something where a court has demanded them to stay away from their victim,” Donovan said.

“I think it could be very helpful,” Santiago said.

Santiago now councils victims of domestic abuse. She said getting a warning could very well save a life.

A Staten Island detective will be wearing one of the devices for the next three weeks in order to test the system and work out any kinks.

Do you think these devices are a good idea?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

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