WINNIPEG — Manitoba has the second highest number of spousal homicides in the country behind Saskatchewan.
The province will make protection order applications more user friendly with a designated room at the law courts where victims can get help filling one out. Currently anyone requesting a protection order fills out a form over the counter at the main desk for everyone to see and hear the conversation between court staff and the victim.
Soon Justice of the Peace must give a reason for denying a protection order.
Every protection order would come with a firearms ban in cases where the suspected abuser would be prevented from owning or possessing a gun in the future.
The Chief firearms officer would flag existing firearm licences and begin an investigation that would potentially revoke their firearm licence.
And lastly, a GPS Monitoring Expansion Team will develop a plan by spring so more high risk offenders would have to wear the ankle monitoring device.
The province said it will look at new GPS technology that would allow the victim to see where the suspected abuser is.
The GPS monitoring devices would only be expanded for convicted offenders, not suspected offenders who have not been charged or convicted.
Currently there are eight convicted high risk offenders using GPS ankle bracelets in Manitoba.
It comes after Camille Runke, 49, was shot and killed, allegedly by her ex-husband Kevin Runke on October 30.
She had a protection order against him and had made 22 harassing and stalking complaints to Winnipeg police but it didn’t help her.
Camille’s sister Maddie Laberge pleaded with the province to put in tougher laws after her sister’s murder, suggesting GPS ankle monitoring bracelets should be used.
Earlier in October, Selena Rose Keeper, 20, who had applied for a protection order but was denied one was allegedly beaten to death by her boyfriend.
Ray William Everett, 20, has been charged with second-degree murder.
Camille Runke’s sister Maddie Laberge reacts to Monday’s new legislation in a statement to Global News:
We all need to wake up! Women are living in fear, women are being beaten, and some women are being murdered. I have received several emails from woman who are currently living in terror every day and they are asking for my help, specifically asking how we can make GPS tracking a reality in their world.
Manitoba Justice Minister, Gord Mackintosh, has stepped up and has brought forward what the victims are demanding. He recognizes that the status quo needs to change because we CAN and NEED to do more!
Intimidation can no longer be a tool abusers use to scare women into coming back to them. Fear of bodily harm (even death!) for oneself or for family members cannot be tolerated. We have an opportunity, and an obligation, to make our communities safer. LIVING IN FEAR IS NO WAY TO LIVE.
I have read the media release outlining the proposed new legislation and I am so thankful that my suggestion was taken seriously. Mr. Mackintosh did the research and came to the conclusion that GPS monitoring is, in fact, a method that can be explored further and applied to high risk offenders.
Regarding the firearms ban, anyone with a protection order against them that can be reasonably assessed by a professional to be a danger to themselves and/or others needs to have their access to weapons restricted. Kevin Runke owned a gun, the gun was not taken away, and Kevin used that gun to murder my sister Camille. Would Camille be alive today if his gun had been taken away? Maybe.