Reports analysing effectiveness of electronic monitoring released

Two key reports into the role GPS devices can play in monitoring domestic violence offenders have been released.

The reports, by the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) and the Queensland Police Service (QPS), confirm that GPS tracking devices can be a valuable tool as part of a broader program of monitoring of offenders. In this context, GPS monitoring involves an individual wearing a GPS tracking device that transmits their location to a monitoring centre, enabling their recent movements to be tracked.

The ANROWS report (PDF) found for electronic monitoring to be effective in reducing recidivism and increasing victim safety, it cannot be used as a stand-alone method, but as part of an overall case management program incorporating interventions that respond to the risk and needs of individuals.

The QPS undertook a trial of GPS monitoring technology using Police officers in simulated domestic and family violence scenarios. Details of that trial are contained in the Domestic and Family Violence GPS-enabled Electronic Monitoring Technology Evaluation Report (PDF) or (DOCX).

The reports were commissioned in response to Recommendation 123 of the Not Now, Not Ever report to trial the use of GPS monitoring for high-risk perpetrators of domestic and family violence.

Key facts

  • GPS monitoring cannot be expected to keep domestic and family violence victims safe on its own.
  • GPS monitoring is one part of an integrated safety plan for victims and should not be used as a stand-alone strategy.
  • Given GPS monitoring technology can only track the movements of a perpetrator, most forms of domestic and family violence are unable to be detected.
  • A thorough risk assessment of individual circumstances is critical prior to using any new or emerging technologies and safety upgrades.
  • Given the complexities of domestic and family violence, the suitability of GPS monitoring for domestic and family violence perpetrators will continue to be considered.