A leading expert on violence against women has called for a drastic re-think of the current intervention methods in order to address the current crisis in Australia. Among the suggestions is the GPS tracking of so-called “fixated men”.
Dr Hayley Boxall, formerly of the Australian Institute of Criminology and now a researcher at the Australian National University told the Sydney Morning Herald such a proposal “could be worth exploring”.
So what would that involve?
Essentially, specialist police would be tasked with finding men who fall into this “fixated men” category.
After this, authorities would monitor social media activity and online presence.
If it was determined the men were “violence planning”, they would be brought in by police.
Boxall noted that the current approach, centred around reforming offender’s behaviours isn’t achieving the desired results. Instead, the focus needs to shift towards more preventative measures.
Micaela Cronin, Australia’s National Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner has flagged that Boxall’s research, which includes the GPS tracking proposal, is currently being considered after what she described as a “devastating” year for violence against women.
The situation is in dire straits, with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare finding that the country’s leading form of homicide is intimate partner homicide.
So far in 2023, the number of women killed in alleged family violence incidents sits at 43.
Last month, the nation was rocked by the shock death of 21-year-old Lilie James who was found in a gym bathroom at St Andrew’s Cathedral College.
The prime suspect in the investigation into her murder was her former partner and fellow teacher at the school, Paul Thijssen.
A similar GPS tracking program is currently in operation in the United Kingdom for the protection of public figures.
However, a comparable approach is also being trialled for those considered likely to commit domestic violence.
The issue has gained significant media attention in the UK in recent times after the host of breakfast TV show Mornings Holly Willoughby quit her role after a man’s plot to kidnap her was unearthed.
More to come.