Manitoba government will consult people who have applied for protection orders
The violent death of a Winnipeg woman who had unsuccessfully sought a protection order against her alleged killer has prompted the Manitoba government to promise it will make it easier for people at risk to obtain such orders.
The province is sending online questionnaires this month to individuals who have applied for a protection order or helped someone apply for one.
Their feedback will help strengthen provincial laws related to how protection orders are issued, Attorney General Gord Mackintosh and Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross announced Monday.
“Recent events, including the tragic death of a young woman, have shown protective orders aren’t always as accessible as they should be,” Mackintosh said in a news release.
“We want to hear from Manitobans who’ve had experience applying for protection orders. With their help and through consultations with police, justice officials and community groups, we will improve the process and better protect Manitobans who are at risk of family violence.”
‘Keep Ray away from me,’ victim wrote
The announcement came following the death of 20-year-old Selena Rose Keeper, who was found beaten outside a North End home on Oct. 8. She later died of her injuries in hospital.
- Slain North End woman loved, feared alleged killer, sister says
- Woman slain in North End had filed for protection order against alleged killer
Ray William Everett, also 20, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her death.
Court records show Keeper had sought a protection order against Everett in May, detailing two years of physical abuse she claimed to have suffered.
“I want to keep Ray away from me,” Keeper wrote on the 13th question of her protection order application.
However, her application was marked dismissed a day after it was filed. It is not clear why it was dismissed.
Emergency shelter, device upgrades announced
The province also announced a total of $1.5 million to upgrade emergency shelters, including those in Selkirk, Winkler and Steinbach.
As well, the government says it will enhance victim safety by offering 55 mobile phones under its Cellphone Emergency Limited Link-Up Program and five secure two-day devices that allow those in emergency situations to press a button instead of calling 911.
“When someone needs help, it is essential they know where to get help as quickly as possible,” Irvin-Ross said in the news release.
“Recognizing that each person’s situation and needs are different, we are expanding and strengthening the range of resources throughout the province.”
Mackintosh and Irvin-Ross also announced a new information-sharing connection between the provincial Office of the Chief Veterinarian and victims’ services staff to identify potential links between animal abuse and family violence.
“If an animal protection officer observes any signs of possible domestic violence while investigating an animal abuse complaint, this will be quickly shared with victims’ services so they can reach out to offer support and referrals, where appropriate,” the government said in the news release.
The province also announced it will give $50,000 to the Family Violence Consortium of Manitoba to design and launch a public awareness campaign over the next year aimed at preventing family violence.