Government of Canada to Fund Crisis Hotlines Responding to Gender-Based Violence in Quebec
January 24, 2023 – Montreal, QC — Women and Gender Equality Canada
Crisis hotlines are a lifeline to survivors of gender-based violence and are critical support services. During the pandemic, organizations operating crisis lines in Quebec reported an increase in the volume of calls, as victims of violence and those seeking related services experienced barriers to safely accessing services.
Today, Rachel Bendayan, Parliamentary Secretary, and Member of Parliament for Outremont on behalf of the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced $5.5 million to support crisis hotlines across Quebec.
This funding will help Quebec crisis hotlines serve the urgent needs of Canadians. The crisis hotlines will offer more robust services, resources, and support to prevent the escalation of gender-based violence.
This announcement marks the fifth bilateral agreement signed with provincial and territorial governments. Since August, the Government of Canada has announced agreements Manitoba, Yukon, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Over the next few months, the Government of Canada will continue to work with other provinces and territories to finalize similar bilateral agreements.
This announcement builds on the historic endorsement of the National Action Plan to End Gender-based Violence by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for the Status of Women in early November.
Since April 2020, we’ve invested over $250 million of emergency COVID-19 funding in 1,400 women’s shelters, sexual assault centers, and other organizations, including 138 organizations that serve Indigenous individuals.
“The hotlines that our federal government is funding will ensure that life-saving services will continue to be available to women fleeing violence. This investment will also allow the hotline to offer more robust services and resources at this critical time. The Government of Canada has made it clear that everyone has the right to live free from violence, and we know that to end gender-based violence, we must work together.”
Rachel Bendayan, Parliamentary Secretary, and Member of Parliament for Outremont
“Gender-based violence continues to be a systemic problem across Canada and it still disproportionately affects women and girls. We will continue working closely with provincial and territorial governments to ensure that anyone facing gender-based violence has reliable and timely access to services, no matter where they live. Every effort will be taken to end gender-based violence in all its forms Today, we are pleased to provide Quebec with the support they need, as we sign yet another agreement to support crisis hotlines.”
The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
In 2021, nearly half (49%) of shelters surveyed reported an increase in the number of crisis calls received compared with before the pandemic.
Close to half (46%) of gender-based violence service providers surveyed in Canada between May and July 2020 reported changes in the prevalence and severity of gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gender-based violence disproportionately affects women and girls. Certain intersectional populations also experience high levels of violence or are underserved in the GBV sector, such as Indigenous women and girls; Black and racialized women; immigrant and refugee women; members of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities; people with disabilities; and women living in Northern, rural, and remote communities.
SOS domestic violence, a front-line service in Quebec for victims and their loved ones, estimates that it received 7,000 more calls in 2020-2021 than in 2019-2020. The number can reach 200 per day, while the average was 90 in 2019.
In Quebec, in 2021, 18,351 people were victims of violent offences likely to cause injury in a marital context. This represents an increase of 48% from the 12,383 victims in 2005. Women represent 73.8% of victims of violent spousal offences that result in injury.
In October 2021, 17.6% of women in Quebec had a spousal violence index. The Montreal region would be the most affected in Quebec, with 22.5% of women in couples presenting an index of spousal violence.
The finalizing of agreements on crisis hotlines complements and supports the implementation of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence (GBV NAP). The GBV NAP was launched on November 9, 2022, and sets a framework for anyone facing GBV to have reliable and timely access to protection and services, no matter where they live. This is a concrete step towards fulfilling a long-standing commitment of federal, provincial, and territorial governments to working together towards a Canada free of GBV.
- The Government of Quebec noted that gender-based violence is a priority for the Government of Quebec, which has invested significant funds to end violence against women. However, although it supports the overall objectives of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, the Government of Québec cannot adhere to it because it intends to retain its full responsibility in this area on its territory.
Press Secretary and Issues Manager
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
Women and Gender Equality Canada
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