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Before the First Date: Is There a Violent Past?

It’s OK to snoop if it means staying safe

  • November 23, 2014
  • By domesticshelters.org
Before the First Date: Is There a Violent Past?

Thanks to the Internet, you don’t have to be a private investigator to do a little sleuthing before a first date. Who hasn’t Googled the name of a potential suitor just to see what comes up? After all, a girl can never be too careful nowadays.

Most likely, you’ll find benign factoids through his social media links, like photos that shows he went to Europe at some point, that he plays guitar or that he owns a cat. Nothing revolutionary. Still, it makes you feel better, if not a little nosy.

But, consider this: What if Google isn’t telling you the whole truth? What if your date, who you met online or who flirted with you, albeit nicely, at a bar last weekend, has a history of convicted domestic violence? This is a red flag you need to be aware of.

The National Domestic Violence Registry is the first national database of domestic violence convictions available to the public. Founded in 2007, it was modeled after the National Sex Offender Registry program. It lists the conviction records of both men and women who have been found guilty of domestic violence related offenses including physical battery, stalking, criminal confinement, intimidation, strangulation and domestic violence based sex offenses.

You can search by name or state for the public records of convictions. Some records include photos and some do not, but all include the list of convictions. However, note that absent are how long ago these offenses were committed.

Still, the site could hold the key to preventing a previous offender from finding a new victim, with the founders saying that the site was built to empower the public to deter domestic violence assaults and crimes. The site is even endorsed by actress Ashley Judd, who writes, “Americans need The National Domestic Violence Registry to significantly expand the existing Internet resources…By providing a tool that will allow the general public to see if they’re dating someone who had a history of predatory, abusive and/or harrassive behaviors, individuals will be able to make more informed and smart decisions about with whom they are entering into a relationship.”