Montreal, February 22nd, 2022 – As the clause-by-clause study of Bill 15, An Act to amend the Youth Protection Act, begins today, organizations are concerned about the lack of acknowledgment regarding domestic violence.

Intolerable status quo

Amendments are needed to ensure the best interests of children who are victims of domestic violence and who, currently, are not adequately protected due to a lack of legislative framework and arbitrary interpretations towards families where domestic and post-separation violence are prevalent.

If no changes are made to the bill, many practices that endanger children and their mothers will continue in impunity. The lack of understanding regarding domestic violence and its many forms, particularly post-separation, leads too often youth protection workers to assimilate domestic violence with a parental separation conflict, and strategies to protect mothers with parental alienation. This results in interventions that jeopardize the safety of women and their children, who are then, re-exposed to control and violence.

Expected Amendments 

As mentioned in at least six different briefs, including the one from the Coroner’s Office, submitted to the Committee on Institutions, the bill must:

  • Clearly define domestic violence, consistent with the provincial (Domestic Violence Intervention Policy)and the federal (Divorce Act) definitions.
  • Specify the legislator’s intention concerning the protection of children exposed to conjugal violence as well as the parent who is the victim, in most cases, the mother.
  • Provide a clear framework to youth protection workers on how to intervene in domestic violence and post-separation violence situations, particular by adding domestic violence as a distinct ground for reporting a situation that endangers a child’s security or

These amendments should help and equip both youth protection workers and the justice system to guarantee the safety of children and their mothers and prevent infanticide in the context of domestic violence1.

Only substantial additions will be able to correct the current dysfunctions and ensure coherence between the Criminal Law, the Family Law, and the Youth Protection Law. The government’s efforts to stop domestic violence and to follow up on the Rebâtir la confiance and Agir ensemble reports will be compromised if nothing is done to improve and clarify the Youth Protection Act. 

 

[1] The Domestic Violence Death Review Committee studied 5 events leading to the deaths of 7 children killed in the context of domestic violence: in all of these events, the perpetrators and victims were in contact with the Director of Youth Protection (DYP). See brief.

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Signatories :

  • Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale (RMFVVC)
  • Alliance des maisons d’hébergement de 2e étape pour femmes et enfants victimes de violence conjugale (Alliance MH2)
  • Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes (FMHF)
  • Fédération des associations de familles monoparentales et recomposées du Québec (FAFMRQ)
  • Regroupement des organismes ESPACE du Québec
  • Suzanne Zaccour, author and researcher on sexual violence, gender inequities and Family Law
  • Simon Lapierre, PhD, professor Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa

Contact : Fanny Guérin, responsable des communications et des relations de presse, Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale, 514 754-1057 – fguerin@maisons-femmes.qc.ca

Available spokespersons for interviews :

  • Chantal Arseneault, Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale (FR)
  • Gaëlle Fedida, Alliance des maisons d’hébergement de 2e étape pour femmes et enfants victimes de violence conjugale (FR / EN)
  • Manon Monastesse, Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes (FR / EN)
  • Sylvie Lévesque, Fédération des associations de familles monoparentales et recomposées du Québec (FR)
  • Suzanne Zaccour (FR / EN)

 

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Act to amend the Youth Protection Act: Amendments are expected to take domestic violence into account


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