MONTREAL (CityNews) – A few weeks ago, advocacy groups were furious at the lack of concrete action to help end femicides and violence against women in Quebec, after 10 women were killed since February in the province.
Now, organizations say they can start to breathe again, as the Legault government announced more measures and investments to help victims.
“It’s historical! All of my colleagues who have been working in this area for over 20 years say they’ve never seen such a thing when the ministry is working together,” explained Gaëlle Fédida, provincial coordinator at Second Stage Alliance MH2. “They really break the cycles which is one of the main keys of course and there is a strong political message and we absolutely see it in the field.”
“We really feel a wind of change and its very very promising, interesting and we’re very enthusiastic to contribute and to pursue our work with all these working groups,” added Fédida.
“I’m so happy about this, this is what we needed, it felt like we can breathe. The government is taking it seriously; they’re putting their best foot forward. In any action plan it’s never going to be perfect there’s always going to be little tweaks but this is a step forward to creating change,” explained Svetlana Chernienko, mental health advocate & domestic abuse survivor.
The Quebec government will be dedicating $13.2 million to help women on their paths out of violent situations.
From that, $9.1 million will be allocated for social housing, $8 million to organizations forming emergency interventions, $4.1 million to help women pay rent once they leave their homes and 236 new units are being built in second step shelters for more long term stays.
This is the fourth announcement by the Legault government in three weeks. Previously, over $200 million in additional funding was announced, including an investment to help men – perpetrators of the violence.
“It’s an investment that is important because it confirms our projects which are focused in those regions without services especially those regions northwest of Quebec and Montreal. Both of these regions amount to 50 per cent of femicides in the last 3 years,” said Fédida.
Although they applaud the government’s actions, advocates say there is still a lot of work to be done. Anglophones, women of colour and those of all religious beliefs cannot be forgotten
“We can’t not talk about the pink elephant in the room. Because if we’re creating change for everyone that’s going through domestic abuse then we have to include minorities as well which is racial minorities we have to talk about this,” explained Chernienko.