Transition House Workers Demonstrate to Demand Women's Right to Police Protection

Friday, May 30, 2003

(PENTICTON) Transition house workers from across the province who are gathered in Penticton for the annual general meeting of the British Columbia and Yukon Transition House Society will be demonstrating outside of the RCMP office 12:30 pm on Friday, May 30, 2003. 

In the case of the double murder of Sherry Heron and Anna Adams on May 20, 2003 by Bryan Bruce Heron, transition house workers say that the Mission RCMP failed to protect Sherry and her mother. 

Transition house workers assert that if basic precautionary measures were taken the tragic deaths of these two women could have been prevented by seizing his guns, moving her to an undisclosed room at the hospital, placing security at the entrance of the hospital with his picture and restraining order in hand. 

"We know that women are in serious danger when they go to the police to ask for protection, says Jennifer Mercier Wingate, a transition house worker in Surrey, B.C., "Women who come to our transition houses fleeing male violence tell us that when they had called the police for protection that there is not enough evidence for a peace bond." 

It is now public that in the affidavits that Sherry wrote she was in fear of her life and that she expected Bryan Heron to come and harm her while she lay in the hospital bed. She also stated that he had several guns in his possession. 

The Mission RCMP says that they will proceed with an independent review by a sergeant from another detachment to investigate police protocol. 

"Police investigating the behavior of police is not an independent review," says Pauline Funston of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter. "The police investigation must be conducted by an external body not connected to the police that answers to the public." 

Susanne Bellefontaine, board member of the Prince Rupert Transition House claims, "More than any other service, transition houses and women's advocacy centres save women's lives. The cuts to welfare, legal aid and women's advocacy centres will greatly endanger the lives of women." 

Contact: Pauline Funston
Cell (604) 506-4218
Sandman Hotel, Penticton (250) 493-7151

Press Release by:
B.C./Yukon Society of Transition Houses
Suite 507, 475 Howe Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6C 2B3
Tel. (604) 669-6943 Fax (604) 682-6962