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Women's shelter launches tool for victims of domestic violence


As part of International Women's Day, the group of women's shelters (Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale - RMFVVC) presented a toolkit to help recognize coercive control.

Coercive control refers to the insidious strategies put in place by an abusive partner that result in control of many, if not all, areas of the victim's life.

Examples of such coercive control in a toxic relationship include monitoring emails, phone calls or outings, controlling dress, controlling relationships with friends and family, imposing routines or curfews, inferring the parent-child relationship, stalking, or constant denigrations.

These constitute forms of domestic violence that too often go under the radar, both that of loved ones and the victims themselves, said RMFVVC president Annick Brazeau.

At the heart of this awareness strategy is an informative booklet that will be distributed throughout the network of shelters for women victims of domestic violence and other resources that work with this vulnerable clientele.

Its designers hope that the examples and definitions provided in the tool will enable victims to recognize that they are experiencing some form of domestic abuse that is not always accompanied by physical aggression.

Other booklets and training have been produced for police officers, lawyers and workers to ensure that coercive control is better recognized and considered a form of violence in the eyes of the law. The group is also campaigning for coercive control to be incorporated into the Criminal Code as a punishable offence.

"Since 2021, under the Divorce Act, family law judges must take into account the existence of a coercive control context to ensure the best interests of the child," the network said.

In 2022, the 47 member agencies of the RMFVVC housed over 2,700 women and 1,900 children. They provided outpatient support services on 26,000 occasions and responded to more than 110,000 requests from victims, their families or professionals.


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 March 8, 2023. Top Stories

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