Quebec presents plan to fight sexual exploitation of minors

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Just a year after Quebec’s commission on the sexual exploitation of minors presented its recommendations, the province’s minister of public safety, Genevieve Guillebault, says she is moving to implement most of them.

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On Friday he presented 37 measures of his plan.

The five-point plan focuses on research, education, prevention, suppression and helping victims rebuild their lives.

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Gilbault says the plan responds to most of the recommendations made by the commission last year.

“There’s still work to do because it’s never finished, unfortunately,” Gilbolt said.

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A multi-party committee studied the issue for about a year and a half.

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It heard from a variety of experts and concluded that the fight against sexual abuse of minors in Quebec should be a priority.

So far, the ministry has announced an investment of $100 million for police forces around the province.

In October, another $19 million was announced for a new program that aims to more effectively and sustainably fight against sexual abuse.

A portion of that money ($6 million) will also go to organizations working to help victims.

“I’m sure it will change the lives of a lot of young people,” Guilbolt said of the plan.

On Friday, two more investments were announced: $2 million for university research on the issue and $2.9 million for awareness campaigns.

Those missions are set to begin in the winter of 2022.

McGill U. Ingram School of Nursing professor François Fillion, who teaches community health nursing, wants to see more training for health care professionals so they have the tools they need to identify people in situations of sexual abuse.

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“Sometimes we don’t even know what to do to help. Do they have to refer police, police officers? It’s really hard to get some kind of protocol,” Fillion told Granthshala News.

Liberal MNA Christine Saint-Pierre, one of the members of the multi-party committee, said she wanted the plan to move forward in terms of financial organizations working with victims.

“They need more support,” said Saint-Pierre.

Saint-Pierre says she also wants to see event organizers and hotel associations in Montreal, where the problem is more prevalent, to take more responsibility in the fight against sexual abuse.

“We attract people, we attract tourism and we have to make sure that people who come to Montreal know that in Canada, it’s a criminal offense,” she said.

Martin Roy, president of Festivals and Major Events, whose members include the Just for Laughs Festival and the Jazz Festival, said he was ready to take part in the fight.

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“If it’s about signage or whatever we can do at our festivals, we’ll be happy to do it and let the festivals know that we won’t tolerate sexual abuse,” Roy said.

Guillebault says she wishes the message in Quebec was “closed for that kind of business, t’sais.”

The plan will be implemented over the next five years with a total investment of $150 million.

— With files from Raquel Fletcher and Annabelle Olivier of Granthshala

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