(Quebec) The project to create a court in Quebec specializing in cases of sexual assault and domestic violence has just taken a further step.
The Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, announced Monday that he gave a working group the mandate to lay the foundations of this specialized tribunal, long demanded by women’s groups.
Québec is therefore following up on the report of the group of experts, tabled in December, which recommended the creation of such a body, in order to better support victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in court, who often feel aggrieved by the judicial process or immediately give up filing a complaint, not trusting the justice system.
The new working group will be made up of representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Public Security, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP), the Commission des services juridique and the Court of Quebec. He will have to see what the feasibility of the project is and how it will translate, concretely, day by day, in the reality of courthouses.
The aim of such a body would be to provide increased assistance to victims at all stages of the process, ie before, during and after legal proceedings. The idea is to ensure that the justice system adapts better to the specific needs of victims of sexual crimes and domestic violence, women in the vast majority of cases, often helpless in the face of the administrative maze and coldness of the system.
Sexual assault is one of the least reported personal crimes, at around 5%.
A specialized tribunal would have the advantage of being composed of members (police officers, lawyers, prosecutors, interveners) specially trained in matters of sexual and domestic violence. In principle, such a court would also offer various accommodations to victims to help them testify and would aim to shorten the processing time for cases.