Future police officers in CEGEP getting workshops on domestic violence

Montreal police file photo (CTV Montreal / Daniel J. Rowe)

The Federation of Women's Shelters (FMHF) has launched a series of training workshops this week, on domestic and sexual violence for future police officers and social workers.

In all, 450 to 500 students from five CEGEPs across Quebec will receive a two-hour training session entitled 'Towards an Egalitarian and Violence-Free Society: The Allied CEGEP Tour', where they will also have the opportunity to speak with experienced workers.

"There are a lot of myths about the dynamics of abusive relationships," said project leader Élisabeth Viens Brouillard in a telephone interview. She hopes that future officers will be able to "better conduct interventions and better accompany victims."

Viens Brouillard said "the lack of training in sexual violence, conjugal violence and mental health is really the heart of the matter."

The first class she visited on Monday was made up of second-year police technology students at CEGEP Outaouais.

"They had not yet seen the cycle of domestic violence, which is quite basic and important to know," she said, adding that the subject "seemed very new to them."

"The difference between a conflict, a dispute, I could see that was also a pretty grey area too, so we really had to talk about it in more depth," she said.

Nevertheless, she said that the session "went very well. It was very constructive, we had some good discussions."

MORE TRAINING PLANNED

The workshops, funded by the Secrétariat à la condition féminine du Québec, will be held over several months in the Outaouais, Garneau, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke and Ahuntsic CEGEPs.

They'll be given in classes that teach policing, social work, special education, and delinquency intervention techniques.

"We hope that next year we will be able to offer a full day of training" in more institutions, said Viens Brouillard.

She would also like to expand the program to other areas. "I've been contacted by several people, including those who teach communications studies," whose students will eventually become journalists and will need to be able to "use the right words and be able to describe a violent situation" in their articles.

Last week, Quebec mourned its 17th femicide of the year, following the murder of 24-year-old Montrealer Romane Bonnier, allegedly by her ex-partner.

Meanwhile, Bill 92, which aims to create a 'specialized court' for sexual violence and conjugal violence, is being studied in the National Assembly.

If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, you can call SOS violence conjugale at 1 800 363-9010 for support and to speak with advocates. This is an anonymous, toll-free line available at all times.

SUPPORT NETWORK

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

Other resources:

This article was produced with financial support from Facebook and The Canadian Press News Fellowships.

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