The Quebec government is creating a support program to provide financial assistance to the families of murder victims.
Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée made the announcement Tuesday, saying the province is working with victims’ support organizations to ease the burden on families by “limiting their financial concerns and facilitating their grieving process.”
The government is setting aside $480,000 annually for the program, according to Vallée.
Under the plan, immediate family members of the deceased are entitled to financial support of up to $2,000 per person. This includes compensation for parents, partners and children — for a maximum of two people per family.
The province said the program will help cover the costs associated with judicial proceedings so that family members can attend.
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The measures include reimbursing family members for meals, lodging and transportation during criminal trials.
The decision was also welcomed by the families of crime victims, who said it will go a long way in helping others.
Darlene Ryan lost her stepdaughter Brigitte Serre, 17, in 2006. Serre was stabbed repeatedly during her first overnight shift at a gas station in Saint-Léonard.
She said the money will bring much-needed relief to families who often have to take unpaid absences from work to attend trials. Attending the trial is crucial for the victims’ loved ones to move forward and heal, she added.
“You go through a period where you say ‘I wasn’t there to protect her when it happened. I’m going to be there to protect her memory,'” she said.
Nathalie Beaulieu, the mother of a young woman who was murdered at a Montreal grocery store in 2016, also praised the move. Her daughter, Clémence Beaulieu-Patry, was fatally stabbed while working at a Maxi store.
“This gives us a little bit of justice,” she said.
The program should be up and running by the end of the year, according to Vallée.
— with files from Global’s Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press