End of GPS bracelet program for violent exes leaves Red Deer women scared
Alberta Justice 3-year pilot project tracked ex-partners convicted of domestic violence
Some victims of domestic violence in Red Deer, Alta., say they are afraid for their lives because a pilot program designed to keep them safe has come to an end.
For the past three years, Alberta Justice has been putting GPS tracking bracelets on men in Red Deer who have been convicted of abusing their partners.
The devices alerted police if the men went near their former partners.
CBC News interviewed several women whose ex-partners were being required to wear bracelets as part of the program. Their identities are being protected.
"Monday evening, I went to bed and I had a dream that he was attacking me, and I hadn’t thought about him for months, and he was stabbing me in the throat and I was bleeding, I was dying,” said one woman.
“And the next day at noon, I get a call and they tell me that the bracelets are being removed because there’s no more funding."
Report to be released in June
Another woman, whose ex-partner stabbed her three times, said she no longer feels safe either.
"They're putting this guy out there and I know he will do it again. I just don't know when,” she said.
Reaction among abuse victims to the program’s termination has shown just how important it has become, said Ian Wheeliker, executive director of the Central Alberta Women's Emergency Shelter.
"Over the past couple of days, we have realized what a profound effect this has had for the victims. I don't think even I understood how much this meant to the victims,” he said.
A government spokesperson said the funding was always intended to be short-term and a report is now being written about the program’s effectiveness.
That report will presented to the government in June.
Meanwhile, a Red Deer city councillor is pushing to get the funding restored for the program.
"It's not an ordinary pilot where we are testing, for example, traffic or water meters, or whatever the case may be," said Ken Johnston. "We simple can't cut a program that adds an expectation of safety to an affected group."
Johnston told CBC News he has spoken with several Red Deer-area MLAs and they are confident the government will restore funding for the program.