Sexual violence: Quebec relies on training and awareness

The government will invest $86 million over the next five years in awareness campaigns against sexual violence and to support initiatives in this area, particularly in schools and universities.

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This amount is part of the integrated government strategy to counter sexual violence, domestic violence and rebuild trust, presented Monday afternoon by the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Isabelle Charest.

This plan provides for investments of $462.4 million by 2027, with the aim of implementing 58 concrete actions to support victims and prevent violence.

In addition to awareness-raising operations, the strategy calls for the implementation of psychosocial, police, judicial and correctional intervention measures, including the opening of four new emergency shelters and shelters for domestic violence, in the regions where the needs are most urgent, such as Montreal, Outaouais and Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Actions aimed at “knowledge development”, such as the establishment of a working committee responsible for studying the treatment of sexual assaults that have occurred in the workplace, are also planned.

As for community stakeholders, the measures presented by the government are welcomed, but without great surprise, since essentially this new strategy is the renewal of the government strategy to prevent and counter sexual violence 2016-2021.

“It is a plan that is in the continuity of the measures that were known. I would say that the good news is that we are told that it is a plan that is evolving, so if there are omissions, if there are things that change, we will be able to address them and hope that there are other actions”, reacted Louise Riendeau, co-responsible for political files at the Regrouping of houses for women victims of conjugal violence.

For Ms. Riendeau, the four houses provided for in the plan do indeed meet a real need, but they do not fully meet it.

“We are told about four new houses, it is sure that it is not enough”, she declared, before adding that other measures, such as facilitating access to housing, are necessary. to help the victims.

Moreover, the impacts of the labor shortage do not spare the community of interveners in sexual and conjugal violence. In the current situation, the lack of personnel is not likely to ensure that services cannot be provided in the houses, but other elements, such as training, could be more difficult to ensure, explained Ms. Riendeau.

In addition, the effects of government actions will not be felt immediately, says Ms. Riendeau, and are difficult to predict. “We do not yet know all the awareness measures that will be taken,” she slipped.

“We will have to look at the effects on the confidence of victims in the judicial system. We will also have to see if the preventive measures lead to changes in mentality.

“As long as boys and girls think that jealousy is a proof of love, as long as boys allow themselves to control their lovers, we will not have solved this problem. These are things that must be monitored,” concluded Ms. Riendeau.

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