• Stuart Benson

Police, women’s shelter, team up to address domestic violence

Domestic violence rose 78 per cent in 2019-2020

In response to the increasing rates of domestic violence since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, the MRC des Collines Police is partnering with Maison Libère-Elles to respond to the problem.


The MAINtenant ensemble project, which will be implemented beginning in the fall, will see the creation of a multidisciplinary team in partnership with the Chelsea women’s shelter, focussing exclusively on domestic violence cases.


(From left) Céline Lefebvre, executive director of Maison Libère-Elles and Yves Charette, director of public security, MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais. Photo courtesy of the MRC des Collines Police
(From left) Céline Lefebvre, executive director of Maison Libère-Elles, and Yves Charette, director of public security, MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais. Photo courtesy of the MRC des Collines Police

The project received $433,440 in funding obtained over the next five years, which is part of a larger $71 million investment announced by Minister of Public Security (SPMDC) Geneviève Guilbault on May 6.


On Aug. 19, at the MRC des Collines' mayors' council meeting, a resolution was adopted to authorize the hiring of a social worker, specializing in domestic violence, to work as part of the team.


"This innovative project will allow the addition of mobile interveners 24/7 from the Maison Libère-Elles, who will support victims of domestic violence at the moment of police intervention,” wrote Céline Lefebvre, executive director, Maison Libère-Elles.


She added that the team will accompany victims through each step of the process. “It is vital to act at this moment to reassure the victims and to do everything possible to avoid the irreparable.”


Maison Libère-Elles offers specialized assistance and housing to women and their children in the MRC des Collines who are victims of domestic violence.


According to their statistics, calls received and interventions in the community have increased by 74 per cent and 38 per cent respectively between 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. The current year, however, is still in progress and SPMDC anticipates a 30 per cent increase in domestic violence cases over last year.


"It is with honour and anticipation that the Public Security team of the MRC des Collines welcomes this project to counter this societal problem and will allow our population to benefit from a quality of service unparalleled in Quebec,” wrote Yves Charette, director of SPMDC. “This achievement was made possible thanks to an extraordinary collaboration with the Maison Libère-Elles, the directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales and several other organizations of our region."