Quebec is taking a new approach to the fight against domestic violence and femicides by introducing tracking bracelets designed to keep violent partners away from victims.
Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday, where she mentioned the troubling number of femicides in Quebec over the past year — an amount she said "traumatized" Quebecers.
Le Qu\u00e9bec sera un pr\u00e9curseur en implantant le bracelet antirapprochement d'ici 2023. Les f\u00e9minicides nous ont tous boulevers\u00e9s, aussi nous allons encore plus loin dans la lutte contre la violence, et dans la reconqu\u00eate de la paix d'esprit pour les femmes. https://bit.ly/3DdLkUs\u00a0pic.twitter.com/WCWl9iGfbk— Genevi\u00e8ve Guilbault (@Genevi\u00e8ve Guilbault) 1638397211
According to a press release, the tracking bracelets quickly notify police in the event of a potentially dangerous situation.
How does it work? It functions in two parts: a bracelet worn by the offender and a device given to the victim.
The offender cannot remove the bracelet and must keep it on permanently. If the offender gets too close to the victim, the device sends an alert to the police who initiative a "rapid police intervention protocol" to make sure the victim is safe.
At the press conference, Guilbault described the alert system as a sort of "mobile phone."
Guilbault added that the second part is a small device given to the victim.
"She will be able to put it in her purse and all that. It is not placed on her body in the same way as it is for the perpetrator of domestic violence. [...] So she will also be able to be reached if the ex-spouse gets too close to her," Guilbault said.
It's important to note the new initiative will only be mandated with the consent of the victims.
"We will never impose a bracelet or a device on a victim of domestic violence," said Guilbault.
The first bracelets are expected to be deployed at the Quebec City courthouse and the 'Établissement de détention de Québec in the spring of 2022.
In the long term, the government plans to make 500 bracelets available throughout the province by September 2023.
Though this is a $41 million investment, Guilbault says the bracelets will provide the victims with peace of mind and a sense of security. And that, she said, is "priceless."
If you are affected by domestic violence, SOS violence conjugale is a provincewide toll-free crisis line available 24/7. You can reach them at 1-800-363-9010 by phone, or via text at 438-601-1211.
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