Montreal

Longueuil police introduce panic buttons for women who fear ex-partners

Police in Longueuil have introduced a new tool for women who've been victims of domestic violence -- a panic button alarm system they can install in their home.

Pressing button means officers will be dispatched immediately, armed with information

Pressing the button is like launching a 911 call, but responding officers will instantly be armed with information about the victim, the address and the suspected aggressor. (Radio-Canada)

Police in Longueuil have introduced a new tool for women who've been victims of domestic violence — a panic button alarm system they can install in their homes.

Police spokesperson Jean-Pierre Voutsinos told CBC the buttons are designed for women who may be at risk from ex-partners with a history of violence.

"Let's say their ex-husband or spouse … it's like the third or fourth or fifth time he goes back to the house which he's not allowed to because he has special conditions not to come into contact with her — that's the kind of situation that she's highly at risk," Voutsinos said. 

Women can apply to have the system installed free of charge if they meet certain criteria, including being at high risk, having filed a criminal complaint in the past and not currently living with their ex-aggressor.

Quicker than 911

Pressing the button is essentially like launching a 911 call, only faster. 

Officers will respond immediately and they'll be armed with information: they'll know who the victim is, where she lives and they'll have a history of any restraining orders or domestic violence calls at that address.

Without the panic button, precious seconds can be lost as victims recount all that information to 911 operators.

"It increases their sense of security, because as soon as they activate the button, the police will know why they're required to show up at that residence," Voutsinos said.

About 20 women in Montreal are currently using this service, as well as a handful in Laval.

Longueuil police say they already have women hoping to sign up.

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