America’s backwards privacy laws leave women vulnerable

I founded a nonprofit online background check platform to prevent gender-based violence because I often come back to one thought: If only I had known. The earlier you know that someone has a pattern of violent behavior, the better chance you’ll be able to steer clear of becoming their next victim.

The number one way a person can know if someone they plan to date, or is dating, has any history of violence is through public records. That is especially true in this era of online dating, where very often we are not being introduced to dating partners by friends who can vouch for them. 

But there are a few problems. First of all, once an incident of domestic violence is reported, the crime funnel kicks in—cases fall by the wayside because a witness backs out, or any other number of reasons—which translates into less than 1% of crimes ending in conviction. That means a large percentage of abusers walk free. It also means violent offenses frequently do not surface on an official criminal record. 

Another problem is that privacy laws across the country most often make even criminal records documenting previous violence difficult to find. The process of obtaining these records is different in each state, frequently requires an onerous process for requesting; it often takes up to 30 days to receive information. FULL ARTICLE

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