Domestic violence-related homicides up in 2009

Despite good news out of Milwaukee that the number of homicides in that city is hovering near a 20-year low, statewide the number of domestic violence homicides may hit a 10-year high:

There were 36 domestic violence homicides in 2008. Preliminary data indicate that there were at least 46 domestic violence incidents resulting in 59 deaths in 2009. In addition, although statewide data for 2009 are not yet available, local domestic abuse victim programs report unprecedented numbers of requests from victims desperately seeking shelter and other services.

As someone who works with perpetrators and victims of domestic violence on a daily basis, these numbers are sobering, and they’re a reminder that for all the progress that’s been made when it comes to eradicating domestic violence, there’s still a lot of work left to be done.

In response to the statistics cited by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV), State Rep. Rich Zipperer of Pewaukee is pushing for the passage of Assembly Bill 263, legislation he authored along with Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) to combat
domestic violence in Wisconsin. The bill, which is also known as Cindy’s Law, would grant judges the authority to order GPS tracking on dangerous repeat offenders for whom alternative incarceration is not available. The GPS device would alert law enforcement and the potential victim if an offender enters a prohibited area, such as the victim’s workplace or home neighborhood According to Rep. Zipperer’s press release, the GPS monitoring would be funded by the offenders, as well as a fee placed on all domestic abusers, making the bill cost-neutral to taxpayers.

I think GPS tracking for certain repeat domestic violence offenders is a great idea, and it’s one I’ve been hoping would be put into place, however I can’t help but question the assertion that a GPS monitoring bill will be cost-neutral. It’s naive to think the all the offenders who would be placed on GPS would be able – or willing – to pay the fees associated with GPS monitoring, especially considering GPS monitoring costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 per day. While I think Rep. Zipperer’s legislation certainly is worthwhile, I have serious doubts that it would be cost-neutral to taxpayers, making it vulnerable to budget-year wrangling, just as GPS monitoring for certain sex offenders was a few years ago.


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