Quebec police need more domestic violence training, advocate says

Police in Quebec need better training about handling cases of domestic violence, a group representing more than 40 women's shelters in the province says.

The call comes after Daphné Huard-Boudreault, 18, was killed earlier this week when she returned to the apartment she had shared with her ex-boyfriend. 

Her ex-boyfriend, Anthony Pratte-Lops, has been charged with first-degree murder.

Sources told Radio-Canada that after going to the local police station, Huard-Boudreault decided not to file an official report. Police insisted officers escort her back to the apartment she once shared with Pratte-Lops, to collect her things. 

The female police officer who was following Huard-Boudreault in a separate car first went to the wrong address and was minutes behind her.

Huard-Boudreault did not wait for police before entering the apartment, where she was attacked. 

The case highlights the need for police to revisit their procedures when dealing with conjugal violence, said Sylvie Langlais, president of Le Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale.

She wants all police forces in the province to follow the same protocol in such situations: allow the victim to meet with counsellors trained to deal with domestic violence. 

"Police can't understand all the subtleties," Langlais said. She added that there should be two police officers present when someone returns to collect their possessions after leaving a domestic violence situation. 

Quebec's independent investigations bureau is investigating how the Richelieu–​Saint-Laurent intermunicipal police force handled Huard-Boudreault's case.

Langlais ​said police currently only receive six hours of training in the academy about how to deal with domestic violence. 

"For years we've been asking the Ministry of Public Security for their training to be brought up to date, for there to be ongoing training," she said.

There were 11 homicides in Quebec, all women, following instances of domestic violence in 2014, according to the most recent figures available from the Ministry of Public Security. There were also 30 attempted murders that year.