Registries exist for sexual offenders, why not for domestic abusers?

Rebecca Crockett
April 03, 2019 - 6:23 am

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A campaign is gathering steam across the U.S. to create a database to keep track of repeat offenders of domestic violence, but advocates say there are unintended consequences. 

The registry would be a resource for people to find names of repeat offenders. The idea is catching on in Europe and in some states. Some women check the names of men they do not know well before going out with them. 

There are pros and cons with any violator database, said Scott Mason with the Scott Mason with Rosebrook Center, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. 

"For prevention and accountability I think it's an amazing idea, especially for those who have a criminal past," Mason said.

The plan would require careful thought before it is put into place. 

"I honestly think there's this whole idea that it would give somebody a false sense of security if somebody's name wasn't on a registry," Mason said. 

Public search tools already exist for tracking names of offenders, but advocates say people should also protect themselves by learning about signs that violence could be a concern. 

Abusers tend to move quickly in relationships, from casual dating to moving to marriage proposals, for example. They also tend to exhibit extreme jealousy. Their instinct is to isolate the romantic target from other people and dominate as much of their time as possible.

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