Genevieve Guilbault 'showed her insensitivity and incompetence' after recent femicide, say women's centres

After a 13th femicide in Quebec, a group of women's centres is angry with Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault.

The group feels the minister, who is in charge of coordinating actions to fight against violence against women, is insensitive and incompetent.

Called L'R des centres de femmes, thr group of 82 women's groups across Quebec is particularly angry about the minister's most recent statements.

After the murder of a woman in Quebec City this week, Guilbault suggested that "we can never prevent everything" and that she was already doing everything in her power to fight domestic violence.

IMMENSELY INSENSITIVE'

"We are angry. Comments like that are unacceptable, it is immensely insensitive, not only towards the victims of domestic violence, but also towards the families," said co-coordinator Katia Dinardo, in an interview with The Canadian Press on Friday.

Dinardo said 'it's totally false' that everything is being done to stop violence against women.

She added that Guilbault must implement 190 recommendations from the expert report on conjugal and sexual violence.

"How can we say that we are doing everything in our power when there is a grocery list of actions to be taken, when we are still waiting for concrete actions, while women are dying?" said Dinardo. "We really question Ms. Guilbault's competence to coordinate such an important file right now.

"For example, the safety of victims in the judicial process is not assured," said Dinardo.

She cited the example of Nathalie Piché, the woman murdered in Quebec City. Her husband, Nouredinne Mimouni, was accused of murder, but he had promised before a judge that he would not disturb a public order or attack the victim.

"If we did everything we had to do, maybe we could save a 14th victim and prevent femicide," said the co-coordinator.

Her group is calling for better funding for women's centres, which do prevention and screening.

REQUESTING A MEETING

L'R des centres de femmes requested a meeting with Guilbault three months ago, but to no avail.

The co-coordinator concludes that the CAQ minister is not working with the people in the community or Indigenous people either.

"We are willing to work with her, but she will have to prove to us that she is capable of managing this file," said Dinardo. "We are at 13 femicides since the beginning of the year, which is one more than the average for the whole year."

EXPERT REPORT

Some of the 190 recommendations in the expert report include:

  • Establishing a specialized sexual assault and domestic violence court;
  • Providing all victims with the right to four hours of free legal advice;
  • Providing victims with a stable support worker, whether or not they choose to report;
  • Providing ongoing support and information to victims at all stages of the legal process;
  • Establishing an Office of the Quebec Ombudsman for Victims of Crime;
  • Developing specialized training for medical professionals, police officers, lawyers and judges;
  • Ensuring the consistency of criminal, family and youth protection court decisions;
  • Considering the use of electronic bracelets as a measure to protect victims;
  • Developing culturally relevant services for Indigenous people.

SUPPORT NETWORK

Victims of domestic violence can contact SOS violence conjugale at 1-800-363-9010.

Other resources:

 

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 18, 2021.