Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: Creation of a Committee of Experts

MONTREAL – Quebec has just set up a committee of experts on the support of victims of sexual assault and domestic violence – a committee that will have one year to propose solutions to, among other things, restore confidence in the judicial system.

The announcement was made Monday in Montreal by four women MPs represented in the National Assembly, including Justice Minister and Quebec Attorney General Sonia LeBel.

“Since becoming Minister of Justice, and since long before, I have been concerned about the feelings of some victims, the feeling of not having been believed, of not being greeted with humanity. […] I was also concerned about the lack of confidence in our justice system, “said Minister LeBel.

The committee’s mandate will be to propose solutions to develop measures for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence or to adapt existing measures in order to restore their confidence in the judicial system.

Y will attend include Patricia Tulasne, member of the Courageuses, Elizabeth Corte, former Chief Justice at the Court of Quebec, Michel Dorais, researcher and professor in criminology at Laval University, Hélène Cadrin, specialist in domestic violence, Sylvain Guertin , an investigator specializing in sexual assault, as well as representatives of CALACS and CAVAC – organizations that help these victims.

Minister LeBel made it clear that it was not a question of revising the Criminal Code, as some have suggested, to reverse the burden of proof in cases of sexual assault.

“But Quebec can do a lot to change things” in its field of expertise, insisted the PQ member Véronique Hivon. She also drew a parallel with medical aid in dying, recalling that when she launched her project, many told her that it was federal jurisdiction and that Quebec could do very little.

Financing help groups

Local groups already said they thought that increased funding for agencies that provide victim support seems inevitable.

“We hope that, when we talk about victim support, we will ensure that groups that specialize with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence will have the means to do their job. At the moment, there has not been sufficient enhancement for several years. In the houses, we lack places. In the CALACS [sexual assault and help centers], there are waiting lists, “said Louise Riendeau, spokesperson for the Regrouping Houses for Women Victims of Domestic Violence.

Manon Monastesse, Executive Director of the Federation of Women’s Shelters, adds that ultimately, “we need to provide better support for our groups so that we can better support women when they are in the community. judicial process “.

Last year, some 9800 requests for accommodation had to be refused, for lack of space and budget, had emphasized Mrs. Monastesse, on the occasion of the International Women’s Rights Day, March 8. A 12-bed shelter receives $ 600,000 a year.

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