Jolin-Barrette is firm in its intention to make more room for victims
Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette launched the pilot project for a specialized court for sexual violence and domestic violence in 2022. (File photo)
The “victim shift” of the Quebec justice system will continue, maintains Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette. He estimates that all districts in Quebec will have their own Specialized Court for sexual violence and domestic violence by 2026.
Our justice system has begun to do more room for victims and it must continue in this direction, believes the Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette.
Returning from a mission to London, where he was precisely invited to present the Quebec project for a court specializing in sexual and domestic violence at the “Victims Summit”, Minister Jolin-Barrette believes that this pilot project which was launched in 10 judicial districts of Quebec is inspiring.
We are pioneers. This is the first time in the world that we have both a court that specializes in sexual violence and domestic violence. In some other states, there are several courts that are solely on domestic violence, but this is the first time that this initiative has done the two together.
And this junction of the two was chosen because they are very intrusive, very emotional subjects, he explained in an interview on Tuesday.
This court does not change the rules of evidence, does not affect the rights of the accused, but it improves support for victims and offers them appropriate psychosocial and legal services. And its deployment is also adapted to the particularities of the judicial district.
Other jurisdictions around the world are dealing with victims who have lost confidence in the justice system. We must therefore intervene by changing ways of doing things to correct this impression, pleaded Minister Jolin-Barrette in an interview.
Honestly, there were major flaws in the justice system. I think that we must make a central place for victims in our justice system. Criminal justice, of course, is there to correct a wrong that has been done to the community. But in the first title, who should we think of? It's up to the victim who experienced this criminal offence. Everything must be done to ensure that her passage through the justice system goes as smoothly as possible, that she does not find herself retraumatized for having told her story.
The Minister says he is proud to have adopted other measures to support victims, such as emergency financial assistance to support a victim who wants to leave a toxic environment, the reform of the x27;IVAC (Compensation for victims of criminal acts) to abolish limitation periods and the partnership with Mira for the presence of assistance dogs in courthouse rooms.
As for the deployment of the Specialized Court in matters of sexual violence and domestic violence, the Minister maintains his objective of being able to cover all of Quebec from; by 2026.
Additional specialized court pilot projects will be announced. All of Quebec must be covered, permanently, for 2026. One of my objectives is to get there faster than that in the 36 judicial districts. We adjust as we go along what works and what doesn't, he concludes.