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Orange County hopes to test GPS in domestic violence cases

Victims of domestic violence often live in fear of their aggressors. This can lead to additional emotional distress on top of the physical effects of domestic violence abuse. For victims in Orange County, more help may soon be available.

Orange County has decided to restart its domestic violence commission after being inactive since 2005. According to the head of the Harbor House domestic violence shelter, domestic violence cases are growing in the region, with a 35 percent average increase in the number of people seeking the shelter's services.

This increase may be one cause of the move to reconvene the commission. The reconvening of the commission may also be at least partly in reaction to several recent Orange County domestic violence attacks that were particularly disturbing, including one attack that involved a wife who was allegedly stabbed by her husband.

The head of Harbor House is recommending a new domestic violence program that incorporates a GPS system. Under this system, victims would receive a responder, and those convicted of domestic violence crimes who were under a no-contact order would receive an ankle monitor. If the alleged abuser violated the terms of the no-contact order, the victim would be alerted and would be able to seek help before another domestic assault occurred. The pilot program for the GPS system may be launched as early as Feb. 7.

The GPS program offers hope for those who are experiencing physical abuse at the hands of people close to them. In the meantime, learning about the legal help available to domestic violence victims, such as restraining orders, can help victims get the protection they need.

Source: MyFoxOrlando.com, "Orange County tackles domestic violence," Mike Synan, Jan. 22, 2013

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