Quebec to offer four-hour free legal consult for conjugal, sexual violence victims

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MONTREAL — The Quebec government says it will offer up to four hours of free legal advice for victims of sexual assault or domestic violence.

Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette announced the program today in Montreal.

He says the government will give victims access to lawyers working in areas such as criminal, civil, family and immigration law.

Jolin-Barrette says victims won't have to file a complaint to access the service, adding that they will be directed to other resources that can help them pay for a lawyer or find a shelter.

The government had been offering similar services to victims as part of a pilot project in 2020 overseen by non-profit legal clinic Juripop.

Juripop manager Sophie Gagnon told reporters today she's happy the service has become a permanent government program.

"It is not only in criminal law that there are challenges, but also in civil and administrative matters," Gagnon said. "In divorce proceedings, we have seen how difficult it is to make a judge recognize that a woman suffered from domestic violence, which prevents her from obtaining sole custody of the children."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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