Montreal

Val-d'Or aboriginal abuse allegations: Montreal police create hotline

The Montreal police department has created a special hotline now that it has taken over the investigation into the alleged abuse of aboriginal women in Val-d’Or at the hands of provincial police officers.

Police release videos in French, Algonquin and Atikamekw to reach out to communities in Val-d’Or

Police are asking anyone with information about the Val-d'Or abuse allegations to contact them, in English or French, at 1-844-615-3118. (CBC)

The Montreal police department has created a special hotline now that it has taken over the investigation into the alleged abuse of aboriginal women in Val-d'Or at the hands of provincial police officers.

Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact them, in English or French, at 1-844-615-3118.

Police said they have already received calls on the hotline.

Montreal police have been in charge of the case since last week, days after a report by Radio-Canada's investigative program Enquête uncovered stories of sexual violence toward aboriginal women in the Quebec community of Val-d'Or. With a population of about 32,000, the town is situated about 500 kilometres northwest of Montreal. It is located close to several Algonquin communities.

Speaking publicly for the first time, alleged victims told Enquête about a pattern involving provincial police over a period of at least two decades.

They said officers routinely picked up women who appeared to be intoxicated, drove them out of town and left them to walk home in the cold. Some allege they were physically assaulted or made to perform sex acts.

Since the month of May, before the Enquête report aired, the case was being handled by the Sûreté du Québec, which meant the force was investigating its own officers.

"Since the transfer of these investigations, the SPVM has communicated with the complainants, [and] with the assistance of community partners in some cases," said a statement issued by Montreal police late Friday afternoon.

Montreal police also made videos, with the support of the Atikamekw and Algonquin police services, as a way to reach out to the aboriginal community in their native language.