Domestic Violence Agencies Need New Protocols for Fund Allocation
With the most recent death of Hollywood star Amie Harwick to domestic violence, the spotlight re-shifts to how domestic violence agencies fall short when it comes to protecting victims. It’s also a reminder that domestic violence reform needs to be reconstructed and distributed, so fewer lives are lost.
On February 16th, 2020, Amie Harwick was strangled and thrown off the balcony of her own apartment complex by her ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse. The restraining order Harwick had against her ex had expired a few weeks prior (CNN, 2020).
Amie had run into Pursehouse at an event in January, and that seems to be the catalyst that renewed his obsession with Amie. A friend recounted that “Amie told me after the incident that she was scared he would show up at her home. She went to the police, but they did not take it seriously. He was really obsessive over her, controlling.” The authorities had no comment (The Cut, 2020).
The fact of the matter is that if there was GPS monitoring of victims in place in conjunction with a restraining order, then Aime’s death may have been preventable. Perhaps if Pursehouse had been court-mandated to wear GPS monitoring, Amy would still be alive.
76% of women murdered by a former intimate partner are stalked before their death (National Center for Victims of Crime).
Currently, domestic violence agencies are not securing the needed funds necessary to ensure GPS tracking. Nor are they pursing steady available funds for direct service. In the state of Massachusetts, a Mom’s life is intact due to GPS tracking. Theresa had obtained a restraining order against her husband, but he repeatedly violated it. He would show up at her Son’s school and beat her and her Son up in front of whoever was watching. Her ex-husband was then court-ordered to wear a GPS bracelet, resulting in Theresa feeling safe for the first time since getting divorced (The New York Times, 2009). “It’s a way of making the criminal justice system treat domestic violence as potentially serious. By detecting any escalation in the behavior of a batterer, GPS can prevent these unnecessary tragedies” (Diane…