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An electronic bracelet to protect against domestic violence

Act No. 2017-258 of 28 February 2017 allows the experimentation of an electronic protection system for victims of domestic violence, based on the model of the one provided for in the previous Act of July 9th, 2010.

The law of July 9th, 2010 introduced measures to protect victims of violence in articles 515-9 of the Civil Code.

Article 515-9 of the Civil Code allows the Family Court to issue an urgent protection order when violence committed within the couple or by a former spouse, former partner or former cohabitant endangers the person who is the victim, as well as one or more children.

Article 515-11 of the same code lists the various measures that the Family Court may put in place, such as prohibiting the defendant from receiving or meeting certain persons specially designated by the family court, as well as prohibiting contact with them in any way whatsoever.

Although the law of July 9th, 2010 also provided for the implementation of an experimental electronic protection system for victims of domestic violence, this has never been made effective.

This is what the law of February 28th, 2017 proposes once again.

Indeed, Article 39 of the Act provides that when a person charged with a crime or misdemeanour committed against his or her spouse, partner or PACS partner is placed under house arrest with mobile electronic surveillance, and a prohibition on meeting the victim has been imposed, the victim may, if he or she expressly consents, be offered the wearing of an electronic device enabling him or her to report remotely that the person being examined is in the vicinity.

Such a system may also be offered to the victim when a person convicted of a crime or misdemeanour committed against his or her spouse, partner or PACS partner is placed under mobile electronic surveillance as part of socio-judicial follow-up or conditional release and a prohibition to meet the victim has been imposed.

The Article provides that the State may authorize, on an experimental basis and for a maximum period of three years from the promulgation of this Act, the implementation of such measures for the protection of the victims.

This is done in the hope that this electronic bracelet will finally be put into use. Indeed, this mechanism would make it possible to set up a mechanism to monitor the effectiveness of the removal measure for violent spouses. It would also alert the prison administration when the person under mobile electronic surveillance approaches within a certain distance of the protected person by signalling from a distance that the accused person is in the vicinity.

This system would also make it possible to know the respective locations of the protected person and the person under mobile electronic surveillance, as well as their most recent routes, in order to immediately trigger appropriate protective measures by law enforcement, such as sending police officers to them, and to instruct the criminal to move away or even to arrest them.

This mechanism would therefore make it possible to effectively monitor the removal of the violent spouse and could thus contribute to lowering the figures for domestic violence.

Indeed, it should be recalled that in France in 2014, 118 women and 25 men were killed by their spouses or ex-spouses and 35 children were killed as a result of domestic violence. But also that it is estimated that, on average, 223,000 women aged 18 to 75 are victims of domestic violence in its most serious forms (physical and/or sexual violence) each year.

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