Aboriginal women, people in same-sex relationships, new Canadians and older citizens are among the communities targeted by the government's new five-year plan to combat conjugal violence.
The action plan and aboriginal communities
The Quebec government plan includes several points of action aimed specifically at aboriginal women. They include:
-Financial support to organizations working with Aboriginal communities to promote non-violence, particularly among men and boys.
-Awareness campaigns in high schools focusing on violence in dating relationships.
- Information campaigns detailing the resources available to victims of conjugal violence.
The $57 million dollar plan includes more training for prosecutors, more tools for front-line responders and an awareness campaign specific to those communities deemed particularly vulnerable.
"We've come a long way since 1996, when the [government] presented the first plan on conjugal violence," said Justice Minister Bertrand St-Arnaud. "We now have to do more."
The plan centres on four objectives: prevention, detection, psychosocial intervention and justice intervention.
There are several items aimed at assisting victims trying to leave domestic violence situations, including financial help for victims sheltered at a safe house and a special benefit for moving costs when the move is due to domestic violence.
For front-line workers, the action plan includes specific training on identifying victims and intervention strategies.
The document calls for the creation of a committee of police officers to conduct a review of all spousal homicides.
The plan also includes a government commitment to examine the possibility of modifying the Civil Code to extend the deadline for compensation lawsuits stemming from domestic violence crimes.
The money will be distributed through nine provincial ministries over five years.
Montreal police, who receive close to 15,000 conjugal violence-related calls a year, launched their own plan to tackle the problem in late November.
Their project will see officers training alongside community partners to help establish better links between those organizations and law enforcement.