Cindy Bischof Law, GPS monitoring, domestic violence

Illinois Latest State to Allow GPS Tracking of Criminals

August 06, 2008 04:57 PM
by Shannon Firth
Illinois has passed a law allowing judges to utilize GPS tracking systems to protect domestic violence victims from those who violate protection orders.

30-Second Summary

On August 4, Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the Cindy Bischof Law, allowing judges to fit individuals who violate protection orders with GPS tracking systems.

Bischof, 43, was murdered in March by her ex-boyfriend, Michael Giroux, who had repeatedly defied protection orders. Her brother, Michael Bischof, who led legislation efforts, said, “She walked out of her work into a parking lot and was gunned down.” After killing her, Giroux shot and killed himself.

Cindy Bischof asked for GPS monitoring of Giroux but at the time, no law existed to fulfill the request.

The Chicago Tribune reports that four other women have been murdered by men under protection orders this year. A March 2008 article, citing the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, reported, “Each day, 600 requests for help in Illinois go unmet.”

In February, President Bush’s budget request proposed cutting $120 million from domestic violence programs that had been developed after passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Domestic violence advocates were outraged.

The Cindy Bischof law will be financed in part by the lawbreakers themselves, who are fined $200 per violation, but the government will be responsible for the majority of the expenses.

Michael Bischof has also spoken of plans to create violence prevention programs in schools, including teaching high school students “how to avoid abusive relationships.” Blagojevich is slated to meet with Bischof this week.

Illinois Follows Lead of Other States

The Cindy Bischof law will become effective Jan. 1, 2009. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Bischof family has already developed a foundation that may work to develop legislation to help financially dependent victims to break away from abusers.
Michael Bischof told Chicago newspaper the Daily Herald that Cindy lived through “eight months of terror” after her ex-boyfriend repeatedly broke restraining orders, one time destroying the furniture, walls and carpet with paint. Staff at the local court labeled her “the girl with the wish list” her brother said, because “she always came with a list of ways she was going to ask the court to help protect her from Giroux.”
Illinois is at least the fifth state to pass a law of this kind. Last year Massachusetts passed a law mandating “electronic monitoring” for individuals who break protection orders. Michigan, Oklahoma and Hawaii passed similar laws, “bringing to 11 the number of states with related measures already in place.”

Related Topics: The domestic violence budget; proper screening could reduce domestic violence

Reference: Domestic violence support


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