Ankle monitors to help curb increasing domestic violence

A new pilot program to track domestic violence offenders in Red Deer with GPS ankle monitors started just in time to deal with increasing violence against women.

A new pilot program to track domestic violence offenders in Red Deer with GPS ankle monitors started just in time to deal with increasing violence against women.

Ian Wheeliker, executive director Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter, said over the past year more women coming to the shelter have experienced severe physical assaults including passing out from strangulation by their partner or spouse.

“The degree of violence is escalating,” Wheeliker said.

Work on the three-year project officially started October 2010 and by August 2011 the first offender had a monitor secured to his ankle.

The shelter received $450,000 from the provincial government’s Safe Communities Innovation Fund for the GPS (Global Positioning System) Electronic Monitoring project.

Red Deer has 10 ankle monitors and currently three are tracking the movements of offenders.

Wheeliker said RCMP respond to an average of 150 domestic violence calls monthly. Of the roughly 30 people charged each month, about 30 to 50 per cent are medium to high risk offenders.

GPS monitors are available to be used on medium to high risk offenders during probation or sentences served in the community.

Ankle monitors, equipped with a built-in cellphone and radio frequency, are tracked 24-7.

They alert police if the offender goes near or into an area they are not allowed to go, like the victim’s house or workplace, disobeys court-ordered curfews, and if monitors are damaged in an effort to take them off.

Wheeliker said so far none of the offenders with monitors have breached their sentence or probation orders.

And comments from offenders have even been positive, he said.

“What they’re telling the probation officers is that the bracelet is a reminder that they need to walk a straight line.”

Wheeliker said the monitoring project’s management committee — made up of RCMP, Community Corrections, the provincial Crown, shelter staff and others involved in addressing domestic violence in the community — is very pleased with preliminary results.

He said the shelter is “cautiously optimistic.”

Victims feel safer, but they should not assume ankle monitors will automatically save lives.

“We’re working with the women involved in making sure the bracelet is not their entire safety plan.”

As part of the project, probation is working more intensely with offenders and fast-tracking them into a 12-month treatment program for violent men.

“We’re doing everything possible to manage offenders and everything possible to enhance safety for victims. It’s a comprehensive approach for both the victim and the offender.”

The University of Calgary will be evaluating GPS projects in Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary projects.

The Calgary and Edmonton projects monitor high risk offenders, including sex offenders, following their release from prison.

Red Deer is the only community to focus on domestic violence.

“We’re the only pilot project across the whole country specific to domestic violence offenders.

“Nova Scotia was leading the way with offenders on a GPS program, but government cancelled their program due to budget cuts.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says she has not received an official request from any other school board for a similar move to online learning. (Advocate file photo)
’Operational pressures:’ Calgary schools shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12

School boards can ask to move online for a number of reasons

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Coordination Center of the Russian Government in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. The centre was set up as a line of communication with the whole of Russia for analysing and collecting information, promptly using big data and solving arising problems. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Months after hack, US poised to announce sanctions on Russia

First retaliatory action against the Kremlin for last year’s hack

FILE - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during the “Topping Off” ceremony of the New York Islanders new home, the UBS Arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mary Altaffer
Islanders close to selling out inaugural season at UBS Arena

Arena capacity of about 17,000 for hockey

An Uber Eats delivery person carries items near the Japan National Stadium, where opening ceremony and other events are planned for postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with engravings in honor of 1964 Tokyo Olympics seen on the side of the stadium wall behind the fence Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Tokyo. Two top officials of Japan’s ruling LDP party on Thursday, April 15, 2021, said radical changes could be coming to the Tokyo Olympics. One went as far to suggest they still could be canceled, and the other that even if they proceed, it might be without any fans.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Officials say Olympic cancellation, no fans still an option

COVID-19 cases have been rising across Japan

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2020 file photo, co-directors Jim LeBrecht, left, and Nicole Newnham, center, from the documentary “Crip Camp” pose with film subject Judith Heumann during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The disabled have a moment in the Oscar spotlight that they hope becomes a movement. LeBrecht, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, says a golden age for disabled films could come if Hollywood lets them tell their own stories. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
The disabled hope their Oscar moment can become a movement

Traditionally the disabled appear only when an actor seeking an Oscar-worthy role plays one on screen

FILE - Diane Warren poses for a portrait at the 90th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on Feb. 5, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Warren is nominated for an Oscar for best original song for her work in “The Life Ahead” starring Sophia Loren. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
12-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren hopes for ‘awesome’ win

Third movie adaptation of the 1975 Romain Gary novel ‘The Life Before Us’

opinion
Opinion: Waiting 4 months between vaccine doses too long

“It’s not just a matter of potency, it’s a matter of the… Continue reading

Richie Laryea of Toronto FC, left, and Jean Meneses of Mexico's Leon battle for the ball during a CONCACAF Champions League soccer match in Leon, Mexico, in Leon, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Toronto FC hosts Club Leon in the second leg of their Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League round-of-16 tie holding a valuable away goal after a 1-1 draw last week in Mexico. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mario Armas
Injury-riddled Toronto FC dispatches Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play

Injury-riddled Toronto FC dispatches Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play

Winnipeg Jets' Dylan DeMelo (2) skates the puck around Ottawa Senators' Thomas Chabot (72) as he holds off Winnipeg Jets' Mason Appleton (22) during first-period NHL action in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Winnipeg Jets score two third-period goals to secure 3-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

Winnipeg Jets score two third-period goals to secure 3-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) shoots over San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

Most Read