Tracking men likely to kill: The radical proposal after five women dead in nine days

The proposal below is way over the top.  It is a basic principle of natural justice that you cannot punish people for  things that they have not done.  That someone thinks you MIGHT do something does not alter that.

The big deficit in the article below is that it shows no real understanding of the psychology behind domestic homicide. What women need to be told is that rejection by a woman can be deeply and dangerously distressing to a man, engendering a huge sense of loss.  And that  can make him very angry with the perceived perpetrator of the loss.  And anger very commonly results in violence.

So for a woman to save her life she may need to compromise with the rejected man in some way, difficult though that may be.  At a minimum, she could offer a guarantee of continued friendship, even if cohabitation is no longer possible.

In short, to save their lives, women may need to be acutely aware of the huge pain rejection can lead to in some men.  It is really important for the man not to feel completely cut off.  Sorry if that is not the authoritarian solution the nitwits below were looking for.  Human problems require human solutions, not ankle monitors

Men flagged as potential killers would be GPS-tracked and monitored online under a radical proposal family violence experts want governments to consider after five women were killed in nine days.

As despair mounts about the failure to curb the numbers of Australian women seriously injured or allegedly killed by men, experts are calling for more direct intervention with “fixated” men – who stalk, harass, monitor or threaten intimate partners, but may not yet have offended.

They say a program designed in the UK to protect public figures, which is now also being trialled there for potential domestic violence perpetrators, should be introduced and trialled in Australia to de-escalate potential violence against women.

It would involve intelligence gathering by specialist police to find and observe men, possibly including GPS tracking of them and monitoring their online and social media activities, and bringing them in if their behaviour indicated they had moved into a violence-planning stage.

Experts including violence researcher Dr Hayley Boxall, formerly of the Australian Institute of Criminology and now with ANU, say rather than working with offenders to reform their behaviours after violence has commenced, more direct methods such as this could help stop violence before it happens.

National Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin said the proposal, included in Boxall’s homicide research for Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), is worth considering given the “devastating” deaths of women in Australia this year.

The spate of women’s alleged murders around the country had distressed her deeply, and “it is very clear this year we’ve seen rates [of violence against women] increasing, not rates decreasing”.

“That’s what keeps me up at night; what is it we can do that will shift the dial?” said Cronin from the Northern Territory, where she will attend a landmark coronial inquest on Monday into the violent deaths of four Aboriginal women, allegedly by domestic partners.

Women including Perth family lawyer Alice McShera, 34; Bendigo mother-of-four Analyn “Logee” Osias, 46; and Lilie James, a 21-year-old water polo coach at a Sydney private school, all died violently between October 25 and 29.

Men have been charged in the cases of Osias and McShera and are on or awaiting trial, but the suspected killer of James was found dead by police.

In 2023, 43 women have allegedly been killed in domestic and family violence incidents, along with 11 children.

The number of women who have died in intimate partner homicide per year in Australia has hovered about 68 since 1989-90, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows, and intimate partner homicide is the country’s most common form of homicide.

This week the Australian Institute of Family Studies found one in three Australian teenagers had experienced intimate partner violence, and the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics released data showing rates of domestic and family violence had not decreased in the last 12 years.

‘What we need to do in this country more is to really understand, and focus on, the men who kill women and use violence against women.’

“What we know from Australian Institute of Criminology research [the Pathways to Intimate Partner Homicide] is that there are pathways into perpetration … and what we need to do in this country more is to really understand, and focus on, the men who kill women and use violence against women,” she said.

“We’ve moved women around, removed women from their homes to safe houses, we tell women not to go walking at night; all the attention is on what women can do to keep themselves safe rather than holding men who use violence accountable.”

Boxall’s proposal to introduce a system of monitoring and intervening with men who had not yet committed violence, but whose actions suggested they were likely to, “could be worth exploring”.

One-third of perpetrators of intimate partner homicides in Australia fit the “fixated threat” category of men who have not previously come to the attention of the justice system, Boxall found.

“Despite being jealous, controlling and abusive in their relationships, (fixated threat) offenders were relatively functional in other domains of their life,” she wrote.

“In many cases they were typically middle-class men who were well respected in their communities and had low levels of contact with the criminal justice system.“

She found their behaviours escalated as the victim was perceived to withdraw from the relationship.

Boxall said a dedicated family violence Fixated Threat Assessment program, staffed by specialist intelligence-gathering police, would help to “keep eyes” on such men and allow police to gauge if and when they may pose a lethal threat.

Many men who go on to commit murder, but had not yet used violence, did show signs that could have helped prevent deaths, Boxall said. Dedicated threat assessment structures could give bystanders a way to get interventions started.

“In 25 per cent of cases, the perpetrator [of intimate partner homicide] has told friends and family members he was going to murder his partner,” Boxall said.

“In a number of cases there was evidence this was followed up with a police report: in one case, he [the eventual perpetrator] told his golf buddies, ‘I’m going to kill her by smashing her head in with a golf club’, and he did it a few months later – but nobody had done anything.”

“We think we know that guys who will murder their partner look a certain way; but these are guys living among us.”

The death of Lilie James highlighted that progress is needed to understand who is capable of violence against their partner, and a more sophisticated threat assessment would be a tangible way to help find out.

Professor Michael Flood, a researcher sociologist at Queensland University of Technology who has written about engaging men and boys in violence prevention, agreed with Cronin and Boxhall that earlier intervention with men at risk of murdering their partners or ex-partners is “entirely warranted”.

He agreed that the focus had been primarily on victims and how they could avoid victimisation, and far more effort needed to be placed on changing young men’s attitudes towards women.

National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey data had revealed this year that, “a substantial proportion, particularly of young men, think it’s legitimate for men to dominate women in relationships,” he said.

“There is still a level of social tolerance of dominance and abuse in relationships that we have to address.” This would mean more education on healthy masculinity, and “the way harmful forms of masculinity feed into perpetration … we still need to scale the work with men and boys up much more”.

On the ground, police forces in New South Wales and Victoria have made strong, one-off family-violence blitzes this year, in which hundreds of people, many with outstanding warrants, were charged with various offences including weapons, firearm and drug offences.

But existing fixated threat assessment is focused on lone-actor, “grievance-fuelled violence” perpetrators such as terror offenders, not family violence prevention.

“Police will of course act if we identify a threat to any individual including a current or former partner,” a Victoria Police spokesman said. There are no plans to create a similar centre specifically for family violence.

“Any decisions around fitting trackers to family violence offenders is a matter for government,” the spokesman said. “Police see the devastating impact of family violence every day.”

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