Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette calls on victims of sexual assault to report their perpetrators.
Quebec Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, said Wednesday that the absolution granted to Simon Houle, this engineer from Trois-Rivières who admitted having sexually assaulted a woman, is “an isolated decision”.
The Minister, however, said he was deeply shocked by the decision rendered by the Court of Quebec.
He reiterates that the decision is being appealed by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP). The Court of Appeal will rule on this […]. I understand the dismay of the victims and I share it, but I cannot comment further, said Mr. Jolin-Barrette.
The Minister of Justice reaffirmed Quebec's commitment to the fight against sexual assault. Our goal is to work so that victims have confidence in the justice system, he assured.
This is why he urges them [the victims] to continue to denounce their attackers.
Last month, the Court of Quebec granted Simon Houle, who sexually assaulted a woman, a conditional discharge to allow him to travel for work. A decision that caused a stir in organizations fighting against sexual violence.
The absolution granted to Simon Houle comes at a time when Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette is on a crusade against sexual assault. On Wednesday morning, he launched the pilot project for a court specializing in sexual violence and domestic violence at the Montmagny courthouse.
This innovative pilot project aims to better respond to the needs and realities of victims of sexual violence and domestic violence. This will involve creating safe spaces within courthouses to allow victims to circulate without encountering their attackers, and setting up mechanisms for access and assistance to the testimony, such as screens and videoconferencing rooms.
The deployment of the specialized court for sexual violence and domestic violence marks a major culture change in the justice system, a said Mr. Jolin-Barrette.
He continues: For too long, victims were the last considered in the justice process. They will now be at the heart of it and will be able to count on appropriate and sustained support, before, during and even after their legal journey.
We only want Quebec, victims of sexual violence and domestic violence are reluctant to denounce and file a complaint, concluded the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec.