Statement from Minister Monsef and Minister Charest on support for women’s shelters and centres for victims of sexual and domestic violence in Quebec during the COVID‑19 pandemic

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, and Isabelle Charest, Quebec’s Minister for Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, issued the following joint statement:

“The COVID‑19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for victims of sexual and domestic violence. While Canadians are encouraged to stay at home for their safety, it is crucial to consider the victims of the escalating violent behaviours that can result from the current health crisis. We recognize that home is not a safe place for everyone.

During these exceptional times, additional resources are needed so that organizations can adequately meet the needs of victims. The Government of Canada has therefore paid more than $6.4 million directly to the Government of Quebec to support women's shelters and support agencies for victims of sexual and domestic violence in Quebec, to help them improve safety, support emergency preparedness and increase their capacity. This funding is part of the $50 million the federal government is providing to support front-line shelters and sexual assault and domestic violence centres across Canada.

By working together, we are taking a holistic, consistent and coordinated approach to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will continue our close collaboration to support organizations that provide essential services to victims and survivors of gender-based violence so that these organizations can retain the means in place to prevent and manage COVID-19 outbreaks, stay safe and remain a lifeline for those most in need.

Today, we unite to encourage those who do not feel safe at home to use the resources available. All resources, whether support agencies or shelters, are open despite the crisis. Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the toll-free resource line for victims of sexual assault at 1-888-933-9007. For victims of domestic violence, SOS violence conjugale is available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-363-9010.”

We would also note that the Government of Quebec has already announced that one-time emergency funding of $2.5 million is being provided to meet the increasing needs of centres and shelters for female victims of domestic violence and battered women affected by multiple social issues Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. (French only). The transfer of funds will therefore increase the financial assistance already granted. 

Related links

In a crisis or emergency, call the police by dialling 9‑1‑1.
Information and services: www.quebec.ca/en/family-and-support-for-individuals/assistance-and-support Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre.

SOS violence conjugale
Toll free: 1‑800‑363‑9010
www.sosviolenceconjugale.ca Cet hyperlien s'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. (French only)