State Sen. Debbe Leftwich said a new law to help curtail attacks on women marks a significant change in how Oklahoma deals with domestic violence. Leftwich was present when Gov. Brad Henry conducted a ceremonial bill signing of SB 2163 at the State Capitol on Wednesday. Leftwich said the statute will take advantage of Global Positioning System Technology (GPS) to better protect domestic abuse victims.
“According to the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, our state is tenth in the nation for women murdered by men. Most of those women were in the process of trying to leave their abusers when they were killed, and many had obtained Orders of Protection,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “Too often, that piece of paper does nothing to deter abusers from attacking again.”
In 20 percent of domestic homicides reviewed, Orders of Protection had been utilized. In 67 percent of the cases where a protective order was active at the time of the homicide, the defendant had violated the order prior to the homicide.
“We need to be able to create a zone of safety for these women. With GPS tracking, we can do that,” Leftwich said.
The devices, which will be court-issued, will automatically notify both the victim and law enforcement officials if the perpetrator violates the geographic boundaries set by the court.
“Basically, this helps create an electronic zone of safety and a way to prevent another attack should the abuser violate those boundaries,” Leftwich said. “By using GPS, we are taking a proactive approach toward domestic abuse, and hopefully we’ll be able to save lives.”