The Quebec government is spending $20 million to help organizations across the province that help men who commit domestic violence.
The money is part of a $223 million strategy to fight domestic violence in the province, with much of the overall funding going to women’s organizations.
‘We need to address the problem at its source, and the source of the violence is the men who commit it,” said Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault.
“We must be able to help them and prevent them from making more victims.”
The money will be invested over five years and will go to more than 30 organizations across the province that work with men.
About 10,000 men seek help every year. With few provincial resources, they often wait several months before they’re able to access the therapeutic support they need.
Guilbault hopes the funding will help hire more support workers and expand services.
“It is an additional 30 per cent of money that is given to the organizations to make sure they are able to hire more people and to extend their services to men who ask for help,” she said.
The emergency funding comes on the heels of a spate of femicides in Quebec. Ten women have been killed as a result of suspected domestic violence since January.
Experts say men are often overlooked when it comes to conjugal violence, partly because of a dearth of available resources.
“If they are not serviced right away their anxiety grows, they can become hopeless, even angrier,” said Derrolton James, of the McGill Domestic Violence Clinic.
James helps counsel violent men. He says traditionally, they are just thrown in jail and not offered help. He believes that needs to change.
“Men do require services, not just punishments. Simply going to jail does not help them to reintegrate back into their families,” said James.
Groups who support women welcome the investment.
But they say more collaboration is needed to truly tackle the problem.
“Can we work together, can we sit down together because they need our expertise,” said Gaelle Fedida of the Alliance of Second Stage Shelters of Quebec. “As long as the government will work in silos it won’t be strong enough.”