Specialized court: 8,000 victims of sexual violence accompanied in one year

Specialized court: 8,000 victims of sexual violence accompanied in one year

Specialized court: 8,000 victims of sexual violence supported in one year

Simon Jolin-Barrette takes stock of the deployment of the specialized court in matters of sexual and domestic violence.

More than 8,000 victims of sexual violence and domestic violence have been supported since the deployment of the specialized court in this area a year ago.

Quebec Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, made the announcement on Tuesday morning during a symposium which aimed in particular to take stock and discuss with the aim of developing best practices by the time the court is deployed in all judicial districts. of the province, November 30, 2026.

Québec, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Granby, Drummondville, La Tuque, Laval, Sherbrooke, Lac-Mégantic, Sept-Îles and Montmagny are the first ten districts to have benefited from the specialization of the court .

Alma, Chicoutimi, Kamouraska, Rimouski, Gaspé, Bonaventure and Saint-Maurice will be next. The specialized court will therefore be present in 16 of the 36 judicial districts of Québec.

The specialized court allows a victim to be accompanied throughout the legal process: from filing a complaint with the police to the court of justice.

The course of the specialized court is not only the end to the court. It is before, during and even after the sentence, there is support that is offered to victims, explains the minister, who specifies that only 10% of cases go to trial.

The hiring of 21 new resources at the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions in the 10 districts allows victims to be accompanied by a single prosecutor throughout the process.

Ditto for the 22 new workers in the crime victim assistance centers (CAVAC). These hirings allow complainants to be followed by the same person throughout their journey, from the denunciation to the sentence of the accused.

According to Sophie Bergeron, coordinator of specialized domestic and sexual violence courts for the CAVACs, the specialized court puts victims at the center of the process.

“In the model, we set up systematic meetings at the start of the process for all victims. They therefore have the opportunity to be presented with all the services to which they are entitled and to be explained what will happen during their journey. »

— Sophie Bergeron, coordinator of courts specializing in domestic and sexual violence for the CAVAC

A worker assesses at the same time her needs and the situation of risk in which she finds herself so that the system of justice can put in place all that is necessary to ensure his safety.

The Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions also draws up a positive assessment.

The coordination of the teams ensures that the victims do not have to move from one place to another in the courthouse. We are the ones moving. […] We are looking for a very personalized contact with them. We also have close relations with the CAVAC workers who will be able to give us very relevant information for the rest of the case, explains Valérie Lahaie, deputy chief prosecutor in Quebec.

Juripop asks that the jurisdiction of the specialized court be extended to civil matters.

Some of our clients will, for example, file criminal complaints for sexual assault and assault, says Sophie Gagnon, CEO of Juripop.

However, victims of domestic violence cannot benefit from the advantages of the specialized tribunal in civil courts when it is time to discuss custody of the children, separation or division of the family heritage.

It has consequences in the path of victims in the justice system, continues Sophie Gagnon.

The specialized tribunal was created under a law adopted unanimously by the National Assembly in November 2021. It was a recommendation of the report Rebuilding Trust, filed in December 2020.