$ 2.6 million for free legal aid for victims of sexual violence
MONTREAL – A first step has been taken to improve support for victims of sexual violence: the Juripop Clinic will offer free legal advice to victims, thanks to a boost from Quebec.
The announcement was made Monday, during a press conference in Montreal, by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec, Sonia LeBel, in the company of elected officials from other political parties responsible for these issues and from the general director of Juripop, Sophie Gagnon.
$ 2.6 million will be allocated to the pilot project. The money will be drawn from an envelope of $ 50 million over five years that was announced in the last budget.
Juripop has already started recruiting regional partners, who will undergo further training, said Gagnon. Starting next spring, the first victims will be welcomed. However, the pilot project runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2021.
Minister LeBel has clearly indicated that this is a “first step, a first targeted measure” and that other measures will come to facilitate the process of denouncing and accompanying victims.
“By this approach, the idea is to start from the needs of the victim, the person, rather than trying to get into the boxes that the system has decided for her. If she introduces herself and says, “I am not so much a condemnation as I want; I would like my attacker to acknowledge the wrongs he has done me. ” Can we move towards restorative justice initiatives? Is it more a civil suit? That’s the idea too, “explained Joliette MP P Vériste Hivon.
“It’s not forcing victims into a judicial process that does not suit them. Not all victims want to go to court and not all victims need it. Juripop will also be there to accompany them, explain the consequences or difficulties and what comes from denouncing the police. They will now be able to make much more informed decisions, “added Minister LeBel.
An interpretation service can even be provided if it is a victim who speaks neither French nor English, noted Me Gagnon.
The pilot project is primarily designed for victims who are major, but if the victim is a minor, Juripop to provide relevant advice on the way forward, noted Minister LeBel.
The Federation of Women’s Shelters welcomed this announcement.
“We are very happy also that it is the service of Juripop which is retained. We know that they have a vocation for social issues and they are very comfortable intervening with victims as they have done before. We are very happy and very confident that they will do an excellent job and quickly implement their service, “commented Manon Monastesse, Executive Director of the Federation.
The federation is also pleased that interpreter services are available, if necessary.
“It was one of our concerns; we see it: the immigrant women we receive in the house, even if they speak a little French, English, they are not very comfortable. And often, talk about emotions, victimization, it takes interpreters who will be able to put words on the evils, “summarized Mrs. Monastesse.