Young women, victims of domestic violence attend vigil for Daphné Huard-Boudreault

About 100 people gathered in a Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que. schoolyard for a candlelit vigil in memory of Daphné Huard-Boudreault on Saturday night.

Many at the vigil, which was held at Ozias-Leduc secondary school, where Huard-Boudreault attended high school, raised question about how violence against women is viewed in society and how Quebec police forces respond to domestic violence.

Some of those in attendance left flowers near Huard-Boudreault's picture, which sat just next to a dozen or so candles arranged in a heart.

Huard-Boudreault, 18, was killed on March 22 as she returned to the apartment in Mont-Saint-Hilaire she had shared with her ex-boyfriend.

Anthony Pratte-Lops, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death.

A police officer was assigned to escort Huard-Boudreault at the time of her death. That officer arrived minutes too late.

Quebec's independent police investigation unit has been called in to determine how police handled Huard-Boudreault's case.

Show of solidarity with family, other victims

For Moïko Perrault, the vigil was an opportunity to show solidarity with the family and victims of violence against women.

"Near or far, the event has affected us. We know young women who have gone through similar things. We wanted to be here in large numbers," said Perrault, who was attending with a group she described as young feminists.

Manon Michaud said the death had an impact on her as a victim of domestic violence. She felt that violence against women has been banalized by society and people need to have a change in conscience. 

Michaud also questioned how police respond to reports of domestic violence.

"Certain police forces could be more sympathetic regarding violence against women," she said, adding many women are second-guessed when they share their experience.

Perrault said, from what she's heard, there were warning signs of domestic violence.

"It's taken seriously, but not enough to prevent these kinds of things from happening," she said.

Private funeral Sunday

Friends and family will say their final goodbye to Huard-Boudreault at a private funeral at 1 p.m. on Sunday in McMasterville, Que.

The family has asked for privacy as they grieve.