New Manitoba measures to help victims secure protection orders take effect

New measures to help victims of domestic violence secure protection orders take effect in Manitoba Sunday, May 15.

Beth Macdonell,

Published Sunday, May 15, 2016 2:48PM
Last Updated Sunday, May 15, 2016 6:03PM CST

The province says changes to the Domestic Violence and Stalking Act aim to provide better access to domestic violence victims affected serious crimes.

“When a victim of domestic violence comes forward, we need to ensure the entire justice system is ready to provide comprehensive and effective assistance,” said Justice Minister Heather Stefanson in a news release Friday.

“These changes will help get firearms out of the hands of suspected abusers and make protection orders easier to access when Manitobans need them most.”

Selena Rose Keeper, 20, was killed in Winnipeg in October 2015 after failing to get a protection order.

Her sister, Chelsea Baptiste, told CTV she still wishes Keeper had been able to secure that order.

“I still miss her all the time,” said Baptiste. “I always wish she had had it. She was in a lot of fear because she would come to stay with me in Peguis,” she said in a telephone call from Peguis First Nation.

Keeper was denied her protection order because a justice of the peace ruled she wasn't in imminent danger.

Changes to act include:
• introducing broader criteria to obtain protection orders, which consider the seriousness or urgency of the circumstances;
• requiring mandatory firearms seizures in cases where the court determines the respondent possesses them;
• requiring the court to provide the chief firearms officer of Manitoba with copies of all protection orders that are granted;
• modernizing the definition of stalking to include cyberstalking and other online activity; and
• listing factors that a judicial justice of the peace must consider when deciding whether to issue a protection order including information from other legal proceedings.

Baptiste said Keeper’s son is now two years old, and he is doing well. She said she welcomes the new law, but wishes the changes could have come sooner and saved her sister.

More information for victims of domestic violence in Manitoba can be found on the government’s website.

Chelsea Baptiste (right) said this is the last picture she took with her sister, Selene Keeper(Left). (Photo courtesy Chelsea Baptiste)