UK to pilot electronic tagging for domestic abusers leaving prison


Domestic abusers leaving prison will have to wear electronic monitoring tags in a move that the government says will offer better protection to victims.

Under a pilot scheme launching in the east and West Midlands, and expected to be rolled out across England and Wales next year, any offender who poses a threat to a former partner or their children will be banned from going within a certain distance of a victim’s home and/or subject to a curfew.

The conditions will be enforced on up to 500 prison leavers, who will be forced to wear a GPS or curfew tag. Offenders who breach licence conditions, such as by entering an exclusion zone or breaching a curfew, face being returned to prison.

The lord chancellor and justice secretary, Alex Chalk, said: “Survivors of domestic abuse show great strength and bravery in coming forward, and it is right that every tool is used to protect them from further harm.

“The tagging of prison leavers at risk of committing further domestic abuse is a further protection we are introducing to help victims rebuild their lives and feel safe in their communities.”

The government also said on Friday that more than 2,700 victims had been protected from further harassment from their imprisoned abusers thanks to a Prison Service scheme relaunched last summer. The unwanted prisoner contact service prevents offenders from dialling a victim’s number from prison phones or sending out threatening letters to their address.

Louise, a survivor of domestic violence, said: “The thought of my abuser trying to make contact – either from behind bars or once released – was one that left me feeling anxious and powerless.

“These measures provide reassurance that we as survivors are being better protected from these efforts to intimidate and terrorise us.”

Nicole Jacobs, the domestic abuse commissioner for England and Wales, said: “I welcome announcements from government today to tackle perpetrators of domestic abuse. The domestic abuse electronic tags pilot is a positive step forwards in protecting victims.

“By blocking perpetrators from contacting victims, the unwanted prisoner contact scheme sets an important standard that the criminal justice system will not be used to further domestic abuse, making a difference for survivor’s safety, recovery, and freedom from abuse.

“For too long, the onus has been on victims of domestic abuse to protect themselves from harm. I will continue to work with government.”