Quebec activists say women with disabilities are more vulnerable to domestic violence – Montreal

Quebec saw a high number of female victims of homicide in 2021, highlighting a worrying situation that many qualify as a crisis.

However, advocates say when it comes to domestic violence, women with disabilities have long been overlooked.

“I am really worried about women with disabilities,” said Sandra Gualtieri, a woman with cerebral palsy who has enjoyed a successful relationship for decades.

Nonetheless, she is concerned about women with disabilities who are not as fortunate as she is due to the limited resources to help them.

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The first obstacle, she stressed, is the police called in in the event of a crisis.

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“They don’t really know how to handle [women with disabilities]She noted, adding that there should be more training for law enforcement.

Linda Gauthier, president of the Regroupement Activities Pour l’Inclusion Québec (RAPLIQ), a community group that advocates for people with disabilities, agrees, noting that there is no guide on how the police should help. .

She raised the question of how a person in a wheelchair like her would be transported to a shelter. Where would the wheelchair go?

“My wheelchair [is] my legs, ”she said. “So if they leave it with [an abusive] husband, I will have nothing to help me where I am going.

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“Many shelters are neither accessible nor adapted to their needs,” she noted. “We are at least twice as likely to be abused as women without disabilities. “

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According to Martine Lévesque, assistant professor at the School of Rehabilitation of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal, it is difficult to know the exact number of these women who are victims of violence in Quebec, because there is no system to keep track of it.

“It is a difficult situation,” she said. “We know the violence is there and women stay in these situations because of a lack of response from the system.”

Gauthier is in talks with some police services on how they can improve.

In an emailed statement to Global News, Montreal police wrote: “The Montreal City Police Service (SPVM) reiterates its commitment to fight domestic violence, especially against people with disabilities.

“In addition, we are working to better equip our police forces in this matter and an approach is underway. We are already in contact with the Regroupement des militants pour l’Inclusion au Québec (RAPLIQ) and presentations are planned.

Gauthier and Gualtieri hope to see changes soon.

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If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, there are resources available. In case of emergency, please call 911 for immediate assistance.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, the SPVM provides you with a list of resources and advice on What to do.

For victims and children

SOS domestic violence
Listening, guidance and referral, in French and English
Multilingual site
1-800 363-9010, 24/7
Text: 438-601-1211, from 2:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Shield of Athena
Support for women from ethnocultural communities who are victims of family violence and their children, and translation and interpretation services
514-274-8117 or 1-877 274-8117 (Montreal)

Federation of Women’s Shelters

Regrouping of homes for women victims of domestic violence

For men

An alternative to domestic and family violence

A professional and confidential therapy program for men who have used violence in their domestic or family relationships

Help for men having problems in their relationship

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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