Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New home for women's shelter: McFadyen

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MANITOBA'S largest women's shelter would get a new home and men who beat up their wives would be made to wear ankle bracelets that track their movements, the Conservatives pledge.

Leader Hugh McFadyen made the election promises Monday in a south Winnipeg Tory campaign office with the executive director of the Osborne House shelter standing at his side.

"Restraining orders and other tools don't always provide the best protection for victims, and it's an unfortunate reality that some women live in fear because they are at risk of domestic violence," McFadyen said. "It's time to stop dithering and start protecting Manitobans."

The Tories pledged to invest $5 million for a new home for Osborne House, which they say is overcrowded and requires $1 million in renovations. In recent months, staff at the shelter have complained their building has a problem with mould.

The tamper-resistant ankle bracelets the Tories propose would feature an alarm that could be remotely activated if the offender entered certain areas. The technology could be used to help enforce restraining orders as well as track sex offenders.

Currently, ankle bracelets are only used to track high-risk car thieves. The NDP has also said during the election campaign it is prepared to expand their use.

Barbara Judt, executive director of Osborne House, said Monday she was "delighted" by the Tory promise of a new, expanded home for the shelter.

The new facility the Conservatives propose would be three times the size of the old one, giving clients and their children more space and providing for much-needed storage space, Judt said.

She said none of the other political parties has promised Osborne House a new home.

Judt also welcomed the idea of forcing batterers to wear ankle bracelets. "The idea of the GPS technology -- that is going to take protection planning to a completely new level," she said.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 27, 2011 A7

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