24 March
2019

Kahnawake, December 14th, 2018 – The President of Quebec Native Women (QNW) testified today on the closing of the hearings of the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec (Commission Viens). In her testimony, Viviane Michel spoke about the main recommendations of QNW.

One of these recommendations is the creation of a specialized tribunal on sexual and domestic violence. According to the First Nations Sexual Abuse Study in Quebec, 89.1% say that the victims they meet do not want to report their abuse because they refuse to go to court. Moreover, in the aftermath of the events in Val-d’Or where the DPCP has decided not to lay charges in virtually all cases, Indigenous women have even less confidence in the justice system.

Although we have several other important recommendations, we believe that in the current context, the creation of such a tribunal, combined with specific training on sexual assault and the reality of violence against Indigenous women, would increase the confidence of some Indigenous complainants in the justice system. This Tribunal should be established to provide a respectful place for the complainants.

In a recent interview, Prime Minister Legault was open to the proposal. It is now time to take action to make this proposal a reality. This court would meet a critical need, while at the moment the justice system is simply inadequate for victims of sexual assault, who turn to the media and social networks to denounce their abuse.