The Québec government is taking action against all forms of violence. It is committed to providing solutions to prevent and counter violence experienced by individuals and to assisting victims.
Prevention and awareness
The Québec government’s campaign to counter violence against women is a product of its 2016-2021 Government Strategy to Prevent and Counteract Sexual Violence as well as its 2012-2017 Government Action Plan on Domestic Violence .
The campaign focuses on three areas:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual exploitation
- Domestic violence
To learn more about the campaign, visit the web site of the Secrétariat à la condition féminine .
Days of action opposing violence against women
Beginning in 1981, men and women throughout the world have raised their voices from November 25 to December 10 to denounce violence against women. Québec has chosen to recognize the 12 days between November 25 and December 6 as days of action.
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and December 10 marks International Human Rights Day (the anniversary of the signature of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948).
On December 6, 1989, 14 young women were killed at the École Polytechnique de Montréal just because they were women. Following this tragedy, in 1991 the Canadian Parliament instituted the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
The fight against sexual violence in institutions of higher education reflects a determination to ensure healthy and respectful study and work environments for all Quebecers. In addition to satisfying a social imperative, it must foster a change of culture in these institutions.
In 2016-2017, the Ministère held consultations with all higher education stakeholders. More than 75 briefs were submitted, and nearly 400 people participated in five days of discussions on how to prevent and counter sexual violence on college and university campuses in Québec.
These consultations helped identify various measures aimed at fighting sexual violence (such as prevention policies, better physical security measures on campuses, and effective complaints management mechanisms).
Following these consultations, in August 2017 the Minister responsible for Higher Education and the Status of Women presented the Intervention Strategy for Preventing and Countering Sexual Violence in Higher Education. This strategy is consistent with the Québec government’s 2016-2021 strategy to prevent and counteract sexual violence, and is unique in that it takes into account all students and staff in institutions of higher education. It also makes provisions for the special needs of students with disabilities, members of cultural and Indigenous communities, and sexual and gender minorities.
Action can take many forms, from legislative intervention to financial support for educational institutions. However, before we do anything we must learn more about the nature and scope of the problem within the student population of each institution.
On December 8, 2017, further progress was made with the passage of Bill 151, An Act to prevent and fight sexual violence in higher education institutions. The bill requires higher education institutions to adopt a policy to prevent and fight sexual violence in order to ensure healthy, safe and respectful study and work environments.
In August 2017, a call for projects designed to support organizations that will be leading awareness activities in the area of sexual violence, particularly domestic violence, was launched. During the fall, eligible organizations were able to submit their applications to the Secrétariat à la condition féminine. The list of approved projects will be announced shortly.
A forum on sexual assault and harassment was held on December 14, 2017, in Québec City.
The forum provided an opportunity to discuss possible measures in order, amongst other things, to offer victims support throughout the entire denunciation process should they so desire.
Different community stakeholders gathered to:
- identify concrete means for ensuring the prevention of sexual violence and primarily workplace-based sexual harassment
- identify obstacles to disclosing and denouncing sexual violence and harassment in the workplace
- come up with supplementary measures, in addition to those already underway, to improve support for victims in the course of action they wish to pursue