The deaths of two very different women, Camille Runke and Selina Keeper, both of whom had told authorities they felt threatened by spouses, spurred the provincial government to try to backfill some serious gaps in domestic violence protection and hold a press conference.
Camille was mature, 49, professional, educated, vivacious, and found out the hard way, that a trail of 22 instances of harassment and endangerment ( vehicle safety tampering especially) wasn’t enough for police to haul in the suspect because he hadn’t physically harmed her. Yet.
Selina was a young mother, of an impoverished background, unsophisticated, and had already been treated like a punching bag.
I’m not sure that the government and their experts will admit this:
This is the Free Press report:
“Province to make it easier for domestic violence victims to get protection orders”
“The Selinger government is introducing legislation that would make mandatory firearms bans part of all protection orders and make it easier for victims of domestic violence to obtain stronger orders.
He (Gord Mackintosh) said there would be streamlined court application forms to make the process easier to understand. Those who help victims prepare applications would receive better training.
Victims would have the right to receive assistance in making applications to the court, and they would also receive help during the hearing process.”
“We must take lessons” from the violent deaths of these victims, Attorney- General Gord Mackintosh said to the media yesterday.
In the government’s mind, the right to seize legally owned weapons will prevent tragedies like Camille’s. I’m not convinced.
But today, my concern is more with the real lesson about the other victim, which the NDP and the media has missed. To review;
“Woman slain in North End had filed for protection order against alleged killer”
Keeper had a baby with Everett in recent years.
In court documents, she recalled being slapped, punched, choked and kicked on multiple occasions over the previous two years, including during her pregnancy.
“I fear for my safety because I’m scared of what he will do if he ever seen me in public,” Keeper wrote in the application for the protection order. She said Everett was part of a gang and allegedly had “access to weapons.”
In one instance. Keeper wrote Everett allegedly attacked her at his mother’s home.
“I woke up in the hospital with a fractured nose, four stitches … not knowing what had happened,” she wrote. “[He] wouldn’t let me leave him.”
On the 13th question of the application form, Keeper was asked to fill in the blank, “I need protection on an urgent basis because:”
Selina’s application, in a May 19th hearing conducted over the phone (don’t get me started on that practice) was denied.
According to a Canadian Press story about the hearing audio,
“Keeper’s decision to seek a protection order was promoted by an encounter April 9 in which she told the hearing Everett “slapped me across the face.“
Consensus seems to be that the Justice of the Peace, a relative newcomer to the job after a court duties shuffle in rural Manitoba by the NDP, did not want to risk violating the Charter Rights of gang members like Everett by issuing an ex-parte order, (meaning resulting from a hearing to which he was not invited due to the immediacy).
Now, stop for a minute.
Did Selina not say in court, she didn’t feel safe in public?
The nanny-state government can’t wait to create ‘safe spaces’ in schools because, ‘words’.
But for a court official to help Selina Keeper find a safe space because ‘fractured nose, four stitches, being kicked while pregnant’, Gord Mackintosh still hasn’t figured out.
So the message to Selina was, he slapped you 6 weeks ago after beating you senseless in your mom’s house 4 months before that? You aren’t urgent enough, you have no right to a safe space.
Now I ask you readers:
– What should a Judge or Magistrate or JP say to advise girls and women on what they are supposed to do when they aren’t safe in public, want to get a protection order, but it isn’t urgent enough for the court to grant an ex parte decision?
That’s the question that Gord Mackintosh, the victim services industry, and the media haven’t grasped yet.
And based on the stories about the press conference and legislation, still don’t.
You know how Selina Keeper might still be alive today?
If the JP had said YOU SHOULD GO TO A SHELTER.
And guess what womens shelters do for unsophisticated girls like Selina, and even sophisticated women like Camille?
That’s right, counselors at a shelter help them file for a protection order and keep them safe until the hearing.
Has anyone asked the Justice of the Peace, Debra Motuz, why she did not tell Selina she could get help with reapplying for an order, and be kept safe until that next hearing, at a women’s shelter? Wasn’t that her job?
Maybe someone in the media can ask Gord Mackintosh if it was, and if it wasn’t , will it be in the future.
Is that going to be entrenched in the legislation, that courts be required to tell dismissed applicants they can go to a women’s shelter as part of their new “right to receive assistance in making applications to the court”?
Or did they miss that. Again.