Quebec legislators unanimously vote to create a special tribunal for victims of domestic and sexual violence


A Quebec bill to create a tribunal specializing in crimes involving victims of domestic and sexual violence was adopted unanimously.

Bill 92, tabled in September, was passed in the National Assembly on Thursday and is the “first” of its kind in the world, according to Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette in an official announcement Thursday.

The aim of the new law is to better support victims at all stages of the legal process and to remove obstacles that prevent them from making allegations.

“Today, we are sending a clear message to people who are victims of sexual and domestic violence: you have been heard,” said Jolin-Barrette.

“Sexual violence and domestic violence have no place in our society and we no longer want victims in Quebec to hesitate to report and file a complaint.

The creation of this tribunal was one of the recommendations made last December by a committee of more than 20 experts, who presented a report entitled Rebuild trust – French for “Rebuilding Confidence” – in the Government of Quebec.

The committee made 190 recommendations to ensure that victims of sexual assault and domestic violence feel supported from the moment they present themselves. He said available services should be integrated so that victims do not have to relive the trauma by repeatedly recounting the assault.

“A mini revolution”

Parti Québécois MP Véronique Hivon, alongside Jolin-Barrette, said that victims too often feel isolated and traumatized in the current justice system and she considers the passage of the bill to be an important step.

“Finally, rather than constantly asking victims to adapt to a system that was by no means designed for them, justice adapts to their reality and their needs,” said Hivon.

“This, in itself, is a mini revolution.”

Another report written in August by a task force made up of experts from several provincial ministries, as well as the Court of Quebec and the Crown Attorney’s Office, said the court should have a “victim-centered” approach. “.

As part of the bill, Hivon said victims will have access to psychosocial and legal services tailored to their specific needs, as well as physical places that are safe for them.

In addition, the interveners involved in an individual’s case will benefit from continuous training allowing them to better understand and support the victim throughout their journey and during the legal process.

The establishment of the specialized court will be in the form of pilot projects in at least five judicial districts, for a period of up to three years, which, according to Jolin-Barrette, would constitute a first step towards a permanent court.

“We are deeply convinced that the passage of this bill will bring about the change necessary for victims to regain confidence in the justice system,” said Hivon.

“We kept in mind that their pain and trauma deserved our efforts.”

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