In a joint press conference with the leaders of Quebec's largest networks of women's shelters, Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault announced a new plan to fight domestic violence and femicides in Quebec — and it involves investing $223 million over five years.
The news comes a week after reports of Quebec's 10th femicide of 2021 and it follows calls for action from the Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale along with other Quebec women's shelters and protesters.
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In March, Quebec released its 2021 provincial budget, which included a $22.5 million allocation over five years to fight domestic violence, but the Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes (FMHF) said it wasn't enough.
Of the additional $223 million investment, $92 million will be allocated to emergency women's shelters and services to help Quebec women flee violent households.
Funds will also go toward agencies that help men with violent behaviour, adding more domestic violence personnel to police forces, and improving the SOS conjugal violence emergency line and chat services.
Chantal Arseneault, president of the Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale, called the landmark investment its "greatest victory" in an April 23 statement, but said there is still more work to be done to combat domestic violence in the province.
If you are affected by domestic violence, SOS violence conjugale is a provincewide toll-free crisis line available 24/7. You can reach them at 1-800-363-9010 by phone, or via text at 438-601-1211.