Domestic violence shelters call for more funding, training after third murder in two months
MONTREAL -- Domestic violence shelters say their resources are stretched thin and are calling for better training for doctors, lawyers, judges and educators following a string of deadly incidents in Quebec.
Melanie Valente, a psychologist and outreach worker for La Maison L’Esther, said those tasked with protecting women often don’t recognize the signs of domestic violence.
“We need the legal system to treat us right,” she said. “(They need to be able) to detect that the man in front of them isn’t just a nice man with a nice face that talks calmly, that he’s a controlling man and he’s going to start over again if we don’t stop them.”
Last week 33-year-old Benoit Cardinal was charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Jael Cantin, who was found dead in her Mascouche home. Six children were found in the home with her body.
Two other women were allegedly killed by their spouses in Quebec in the last two months.
An average of 12 woman are killed by their partners each year in Quebec.
At one shelter, whose location must be kept secret due to safety concerns for the women and children staying there, one woman said things got so violent at home that her young children urged her to leave.
“My daughter looked at me and said ‘Mum, I couldn’t sleep,’” she said. “I decided to leave. I said that’s enough.”
She said when she did leave she found there was no room in domestic violence for her and her kids and she was forced to find safety in hotel rooms while looking for a longer term solution.
“The most dangerous moment for a woman and her kids is when she decides to break up,” said Valentre. “It gets very dangerous.”
La Maison L’Esther, in conjunction with other shelters, is calling for $50 million in provincial funding to support victims of sexual abuse and violence.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, here are some available resources:
SOS violence conjugale (1-800-363-9010)
Your local CLSC (Info-santé: 811)
Crime Victim Assistance Centre (1-866-532-2822)
Assistance aux femmes (514-270-8291)
Shield of Athena 514-274-8117 or 1-877-274-8117
Find the nearest shelter at Women's Shelters Canada
If you need immediate assistance, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.