Domestic Violence: Resources for Reaching Out to Immigrant Women

Spousal Abuse: Resources for Reaching Out to Immigrant Women


An organization that helps women who are victims of domestic violence is looking for ways to meet increasing demand, particularly that of immigrant women, which is becoming increasingly important in Quebec.< /p>

The Federation of Women's Shelters operates 36 first-stage shelters and 23 second-stage residences across Quebec.

Victims of their success, these residences for women in situations of domestic violence are often full, but a recent increase in their funding by Quebec makes it possible to foresee the opening of new places.

“Women call much more quickly to get information, to get help, but you have to be able to respond to demand,” said Manon Monastesse, Executive Director of the Federation, in an interview with QMI Agency.

Among this demand is that of immigrant women. “We receive women from 125 countries, so it's something important, and not just in Montreal, in the regions as well,” explained Ms. Monastesse.

If it's not necessarily more difficult for an immigrant woman to ask for help, certain additional pitfalls can unfortunately be found on their way.

“Coming to a shelter, leaving a spouse who is violent, that also means say ending ties with your community, and that's a heavy price to pay,” said the executive director.

A dozen shelters in the province accommodate mainly first-generation immigrant women. In order to facilitate dialogue, the Federation relies on speakers who speak several languages, but also on interpreters, access which is sometimes very expensive.

The Federation does not skimp on the means to try to reach these women between launching campaigns, forging links with communities, or even training agents from the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration Quebec.

“We are making a breakthrough, but it is very worrying, for those who manage to get out of their situation, there are several others we cannot reach,” said Ms. Monastesse.

A sometimes more complex legal process

If SOS Violence conjugale and shelters are the first resources for women who are victims of domestic violence, lawyers arrive quite quickly in the portrait.

And for immigrant women, the legal process can sometimes be more difficult, according to Me Sophie Gagnon, Executive Director of Juripop.

“These are cases that legally can be more complex, among other things when the victim or the perpetrator of the attack are in a precarious migratory situation and are at risk of deportation,” she said.

“Sometimes these people don't have access to all the protective tools available in the criminal justice system, such as a protection order.”

“Windows on Horror ”: a campaign to talk about domestic violence

As Halloween approaches, La Maison grise, a shelter resource, has launched a campaign depicting scenes of domestic violence that can take place at home to educate Quebecers about the cause.

“By juxtaposing these scenes of domestic violence with terrifying Halloween decorations, we hope to educate the general public about the real horrors that go unmentioned” , explained Nathalie Lamarche, Executive Director of La Maison grise.

For Ms. Monastesse, it is above all a question of showing that these scenes are unfortunately far from being fiction for many women, whereas a woman is killed every other day by a spouse or ex-spouse in Canada.

If you are If you are a victim of domestic violence, contact SOS Violence conjugale at 1 800 363-9010 or visit