$71 million to fight domestic violence and femicide: Promising measures
In the wake of the actions announced in recent weeks to better combat domestic violence and femicide, the Quebec government is calling for concerted action by all stakeholders and has announced $71 million to better support victims and increase the monitoring of offenders.
The Deputy Premier, Minister of Public Security and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region, Geneviève Guilbault, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec, Simon Jolin-Barrette, made the announcement.
$44 million will be granted to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DCPP). These funds will allow the DCPP to apply the principle of vertical prosecution to cases of domestic violence and to consolidate its application to cases of sexual violence. Victims will thus be able to be accompanied by a single prosecutor from the beginning to the end of the legal proceedings, which will ensure a more adapted and secure approach. This measure will allow the development of a stronger bond of trust between the prosecutor and the victim and will facilitate the victim's journey through the judicial process.
Prosecutors will hold preparatory meetings in order to inform victims of the various stages of the judicial process and the functioning of the court. Victims will be better equipped and better informed about their rights, will be better prepared for their testimony and will be able to be directed to the resources they need to recover. The DCPP will also be more involved in assessing the homicide risk of offenders.
In addition, $27 million will be invested over five years to add specialized domestic violence staff to Quebec police forces and correctional services. This investment will make it possible to form a specialized domestic violence team at the Sûreté du Québec, to add a resource to the Terrebonne Police Department and to create a specialized domestic violence consultation and investigation team at the Montreal Police Department. These few projects illustrate the efforts that police forces and the government are already making to combat domestic violence. Other projects will also be funded in the future.
It should also be noted that the evaluation service for persons accused of spousal violence at the bail stage will be extended to the entire province of Quebec. Considering that this is the pivotal point in the intervention and prevention of domestic violence, it is crucial that an assessment be conducted at this stage of the proceedings. It allows for the determination of the appropriate supervision and interventions based on the assessment of the offender. Referrals to assistance resources can then be made, if necessary.
The Quebec government is investing a total of $222.9 million over five years to carry out the various priority measures set out in the plan unveiled on April 23. Funding of $92 million over five years for first-stage shelters, as well as $19.8 million over five years for organizations that help men who behave violently in a marital or family context, has already been announced.