Could the money have been used differently?

Alberta’s Emergency Woman’s Shelter Received an Additional 15M in 2015

Alberta’s shelters received a $15M boost in 2015 in addition to $35M given by the Alberta Government. In the province alone, 22k woman and children were turned away from woman’s shelter this past year. Sending a woman and child back to the place of violence is an unfortunate reality that many face daily.

The most dangerous time for a Victim is when she attempts to leave her abuser. About 25% of all women who are murdered by their spouse had left the relationship. In one recent study, half of the murdered women were killed within two months of leaving.

Most recently, SafeTracks™ have been in discussion with a collective team of Alberta Government MLA’s in securing funding to restart a provincial GPS Ankle Bracelet program. From 2012- 2015, Alberta ran a successful GPS Electronic Monitoring program in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. Each city utilized their funding and their GPS Ankle Bracelets in different ways. Edmonton Police and Calgary Police placed the Ankle Bracelets on High Risk Offenders. Red Deer had a program operating that utilized GPS Ankle Bracelets to monitor Offenders of Domestic Violence. This program had the support of our local Women Shelter, Red Deer Probation Office, as well as our local Domestic Violence team within the RCMP. Unfortunately, with Government changes, came funding issues. The Red Deer Domestic Violence program came to an end. Edmonton and Calgary Police, seeing the positive outcomes by utilizing GPS Electronic Monitoring, continue their efforts from funding found from within their own offices.

Highlights from the Red Deer Domestic Violence Offender GPS Project:

    – It is suggested the goal of long-term public safety will be most likely achieved if the unique technical capabilities of electronic monitoring are used in conjunction with interventions based on social learning theory.
    – The pilot was designed for medium to high risk offenders. The long term goal of the pilot project was to increase compliance of offenders with protective orders and thereby enhance the safety of victims of serious criminal domestic violence.
    – GPS appeared to have the desired effect of enhancing victim safety, as when the victim was cooperative we had very limited contact/violation of no contact provisions by offenders on GPS supervision, and what contact that did occur resulted in timely and expedient police intervention/breach action which served to enhance victim safety significantly. Also the GPS data regarding exclusion zone violations reduced/eliminated victims being required to testify in most cases. Additionally, our DV counselling provider is of the opinion that the GPS appeared to have a motivational factor for offenders on the bracelet to address their DV issues in counselling compared to many other/or even the same offender who had previously been in counselling without the benefit of being on the bracelet. – Probation’s
    – Through the project period no court testimony in relation to a breach charge was required which equated to a savings in resources and overtime costs. – Red Deer City RCMP
    – Those that chose to work with us during the pilot had the opportunity to do enhanced safety planning and counselling. Our outreach worker reported very good outcomes for the clients she worked with during the pilot. In fact our outreach was very concerned for victim safety when the pilot came to end back in March. – Central Alberta Woman’s Emergency Shelter (CAWES)

We have the ability to disrupt Domestic Violence by making offenders accountable for their actions using Electronic Motivation. I’m very confident that utilizing SafeTracks proven and successful solutions, that we can change and improve the lives of the Survivors and their families. In order to move this initiative forward, we need to stand together, and present this to your fellow representatives, to secure the funding so that we can make this solution a reality.

Source:
Alberta shelters turn away 22K women, children despite extra $15M: report
Increased funding for Alberta’s women’s shelters having impact but more needed: Shelter executives

Resources:
Domestic Violence Employment Leave Benefit
Safer Spaces Certificate to End Tenant Tenancy
Red Deer Domestic Violence Offender GPS Project
Briefing Note Regarding Electronic Monitoring – Scott Newark
SafeTracks™ Presentation
SafeTracks™ Letters of Support
SafeTracks™ 2017 Brochure
House Arrest Program