Plan to track domestic abuse victims – and their tormentors


VICTIMS of domestic abuse and their attackers will be tracked by satellite to keep them apart under a Police Scotland plan.

Domestic abuse sufferers would have a “portable exclusion zone” around them which offenders would not be allowed to enter.

As well as preventing stalking of victims, the proposed system would help prevent accidental encounters.

Police would monitor both the victim and perpetrator of domestic abuse and intervene to keep them apart


Current systems are based on fixed exclusion zones usually based on the home of the domestic abuse sufferer.

The new scheme would involve monitoring the movements of the victim by a mobile phone-style device while the perpetrator is tracked round the clock by a tag linked to a satellite.

Charities for victims of domestic abuse welcomed the plan but warned that it should not be seen as an alternative to jail.

Police Scotland revealed the GPS monitoring plan in a consultation response to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill on “the future direction of the electronic monitoring service”.

The scheme would see a victim of domestic violence given a device the size of a “mobile phone,” according to the consultation, while the offender wears a GPS tag.

If the tagged offender comes within a certain range the victim can be called or texted and advised how to avoid the perpetrator.

The Police Scotland response said: “Recent technological advancements allow for a more sophisticated application of GPS monitoring; namely a portable, monitored exclusion zone around the victim.

“Police Scotland supports these advancements and agrees that such GPS monitoring applications are explored and their viability tested.

“While undoubtedly there will be a number of technological, financial and legislative concerns to be addressed, the most important consideration must be to alleviate any anxieties and concerns the victim may have in the use (and associated alerts) of the system.”

The consultation comes after paedophile Ryan Yates stabbed a grandmother and attempted to rape her grandchildren in Aberdeen in 2009 just five days after being released from jail.

Police Scotland are also backing the use of GPS tagging on people on bail who they believe are at risk of absconding as well as persistent offenders.

Calling for more powers to track repeat offenders by GPS, the force said: “Police Scotland believes there is a compelling case for a legislative backed basis, which allows any non-compliance to be enforced.”

Existing electronic tags only allow authorities to know when the wearer is in a certain place at a certain time.

Fiona Whitehouse, of Aberdeen Cyrenians’ Violence against Women Project, said: “We would welcome the introduction of GPS in terms of monitoring and tracking the location of perpatrators in order to reduce risk to victims or potential victims.

“Regarding victims of abuse carrying GPS devices, this would need careful consideration and consultation with individual women to ascertain whether they feel they would want and benefit from this as a safety measure.”

Scottish Women’s aid welcomed the extra security the move would bring, but said it would be “disastrous” if offenders saw it as an alternative to jail.

The Scottish Government said it was “analysing” the police comments and would respond later this year.