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Quebec announces locations for specialized sexual violence courts


Quebec has announced the first five districts that will host specialized courts on domestic and sexual violence.

Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette says the districts selected are Quebec City, Beauharnois and Bedford in the Montérégie, Drummond in the Centre-du-Québec region and Saint-Maurice in the Mauricie.

This comes after Quebec politicians unanimously adopted Bill 92 last November to create the specialized court system to help victims of abuse.

Jolin-Barrette explained at the time that he could not accept that victims were reluctant to denounce their alleged attackers and use legal recourse.

He promised that anyone brave enough to come forward would be accompanied from beginning to end, at all stages of the judicial process and beyond.

Jolin-Barrette notes Quebec will be the first jurisdiction in the world to deploy a specialized court for sexual and domestic violence.

The pilot project will serve as precedence for best practices in these types of cases and evaluate the impact of the specialized court model in different contexts.

The government notes the introduction of specialized courts does not change the law in that the procedural safeguards and rights of the accused, including the presumption of innocence, remain.

When the creation of the tribunal was announced last November, Chief Justice of the Court of Quebec Lucie Rondeau called it an unacceptable political intrusion into the judicial field.

Rondeau states the Court of Quebec already announced the creation of the Accusations in a Conjugal and Sexual Context (ACCES) division, which has the same objectives as the specialized courts.

Choosing the districts involved in the pilot project was based on territory and population, courthouse sizes, the presence of community organizations working on sexual and spousal violence and the presence of Indigenous communities.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Jan. 26, 2022. Top Stories

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