Victims of spousal or sexual violence: there are resources for you

  • February 23, 2022
  • Crimes, Justice
Femme se cachant le visage d'une main et levant l'autre en signe d'arrêt

Sexual or spousal violence has a devastating effect on its victims. Fortunately, there are resources to help you get out of the situation and to rebuild after having lived through it.

The multiple faces of spousal violence

Unlike the simple conflicts that can happen within a couple, spousal violence is intentional. The violent partner seeks to dominate or control the victim by causing the person harm repeatedly. The abuser may insult, threaten, hit or humiliate the victim, or prevent him or her from going out or from working outside the home.

Sexual violence occurs when someone forces or tries to force another person into a sexual act. If the aggressor is a spouse, it is a form of spousal violence.

Ending the cycle of violence

If you believe that you are a victim of spousal violence, there are several free resources that can help you.

1. Talk about it.

Anonymous, confidential and bilingual, these resources are available 24 hours a day. They can also refer you to other services such as shelters:

Is your safety or your life at risk? For urgent help, call 9-1-1.

2. Get support.

To file a complaint, take legal steps or rebuild your life, you have access to support services:

Did you know that under the law, victims of spousal or sexual violence can terminate a lease without being penalized? For questions about your rights, legal aid is available through the Rebâtir program. All victims of spousal or sexual violence can receive 4 hours of free legal counsel.

3. Check to see whether you can obtain compensation.

If you have been the victim of a criminal offence, you may qualify for financial assistance. Contact Indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels (IVAC).

It’s never too late to apply for compensation. When a criminal offence involves spousal or sexual violence, there is no time limit imposed for seeking recourse. Since October 13, 2021, you can reactivate an application that was refused because it was filed too late.

Dissatisfied with the services received?

Do you feel that IVAC has not granted you the financial assistance you qualify for? Lodge a complaint with the Québec Ombudsman. Our services are confidential and free. 

Does your complaint have to do with legal aid? Contact the office concerned or the Commission des services juridiques.

Also see: Victims of spousal or sexual violence: the law protects you