The BBC reports that the French Parliament is considering, and is likely to pass, a new law that would require men who have been court-ordered to stay away from their partners to wear an electronic tag that would alert police if they break the order and get too close to their partners.
My immediate response was essentially a slew of questions about the specifics: What is the threshold for getting a court-order in France—is it easy or difficult? Is is only applicable for married, opposite-sex couples? Does the abused partner have to wear a tag, too, in order for the abuser's tag to know he's getting too close, or does it only work as long as the abused partner stays in her home? How long does the tag stay on—forever? Or is it a temporary thing, like an ankle bracelet worn by someone under house arrest? If it's finite, who determines—and how—when it's safe to remove the tag because its bearer no longer poses a significant threat?
But all of those details aside, there has to be a pretty compelling case for me to support a new kind of human tracking by a government. Which makes this the only truly relevant question: Have these "tags" been shown to have any kind of observable deterrent effect?
Because if they have, if violent men who are tagged by court-order are demonstrably less likely to attack and/or murder their spouses ("three women are being killed by their partners every week" in France), then that's a pretty compelling reason.
But if they haven't, then all we're talking about is something to make the job of police and prosecutors easier, because they get "alerted" when a tagged abuser breaks a court-order to kill his wife.
Which ultimately doesn't help abused women at all.
And doing something just to feel like you're doing something, instead of doing something to materially and practically help victims of domestic violence, can be worse than doing nothing at all, because it gives everyone an excuse to avoid doing something genuinely effective for even longer.
[H/T to Memeorandum.]