An opinion by the Québec Ombudsman to facilitate recourses against an aggressor

  • December 19, 2017
Femme ou fille recroquevillée montrant sa main en signe d'arrêt

On December 19, 2017, the Québec Ombudsman released an opinion on the necessity of eliminating any prescription period (period after which a person may no longer institute proceedings) for civil actions  in case of sexual assault, violence suffered during childhood, or violence by a spouse or an ex-spouse.

Since May 23, 2013, a person may institute a civil action against his or her aggressor within 30 years. Previously, this time limit was 3 years. The Québec Ombudsman  made 4 recommendations to the Ministère de la Justice which mainly seek:

  • the abolition of any prescription period for this type of action;
  • the establishment of retroactivity without any time limit.

"If there is one field where the time factor should be abolished, it is in this specific context, where suffering extends over time and often freezes the ability to bounce back. This is why our justice procedures should send a clear message affirming that sexual assault, conjugal violence and violence against children are unacceptable and that the victims may be heard, regardless of the time when they exercise the remedies available to them." – Marie Rinfret, Ombudsperson