Victim information and notification everyday


Under statewide freedom of information statutes, court and jail records are part of the public domain, meaning that victims or any other interested parties have the right to know the status of an offender. Unfortunately, because of the complexity of legal processes in which many bodies, including the courts, law enforcement, and jail staff must work together, many victims find it complicated or even impossible to obtain this information. In the case that prompted the development of victim notification technologies, Mary Byron's parents asked to be notified when their daughter's abuser was released from custody so that they could move her to safety. Their request was never relayed to the appropriate authorities. She was unprepared for the attack, which occurred outside her workplace, and was killed.

"VINE is the greatest innovation we have to fight domestic violence crime created in the last three decades. It saves lives."


~Marcia Roth, Executive Director, Mary Byron Project

VINE removes these uncertainties by allowing users to check the custody status of their abuser online. VINE also automatically notifies users who sign up for the service of any change in the status of their abuser, including transfer, escape, or release, so that they can take steps to protect themselves. Domestic violence is a unique crime in that perpetrators often seek retribution against the victim. The period following separation is actually the most dangerous time for a victim, and the victim's risk increases if their former partner has been previously incarcerated for abuse. Research shows that 70% of harm and 75% of homicides occur in separated or separating couples. Allowing victims to be proactive in navigating a flawed system absolutely saves lives.


Furthermore, although domestic violence is a preventable crime, the difficulties associated with leaving—including valid fears that separating or attempting to separate will result in increased danger to them and their children—deters many victims from attempting to break free of their abusers, which makes it possible for violence to continue in their own lives and in future generations. Exposure to domestic violence is a form of child abuse, and increases the child's likelihood of becoming an abuser threefold. Victim notification is an absolutely necessary step in providing victims and their families with the tools they need to end the cycle of violence.


As of right now, VINE is available in 48 states across the country. Provision of the service saves not only lives but also countless dollars in business costs, medical care, rising insurance costs, and missed educational opportunities that are part of the toll that domestic violence takes on society. The epidemic of domestic violence involves and affects every single one of us. From the board room to the bus stop, it has an impact upon people from all walks of life and of every race, gender, economic class, age, and sexual orientation. It hurts not just the victim, the victim's family and friends, victims' advocates, prosecutors, police, or judges, but all of us. Proactive, inexpensive solutions such as VINE are an investment in the future.


For more information about VINE, visit