Call for law reform to protect women victims of domestic violence | Québec Homelessness Prevention Policy Collaborative

Published: 25 November 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Montreal, November 25, 2022

On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Québec Homelessness Prevention Policy Collaborative (Q-HPPC) has concrete law reform recommendations for Quebec to better protect women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). Based on consultations with the community, and over a year of research, the recommendations focus on two areas: the right of victims of IPV and their families to live in safety, free from violence, and the right to adequate housing.

IPV and domestic violence remain a major problem in Canada and women are the main victims. Statistics Canada’s 2019 General Social Survey found that 79% of victims of spousal violence or IPV incidents reported to police were female. In Quebec’s 2018 homelessness count and survey, 21% of women experiencing homelessness cited abuse from their partner as reason for this situation, compared with 1% of men. However, while violence is a factor in homelessness for women, the solution lies in amendments and additions to the legislative framework in order to, among other things, improve housing strategies and ease access to social and specialized housing.

A human rights-based approach

Drawing on best practices elsewhere in the country and abroad, the Q-HPPC report proposes a “made-in-Quebec” legal framework to protect both the right to housing and the right to be free from violence. The report identifies five areas for reform and contains twelve recommendations for additions or amendments to Quebec legislation to reduce the risk of residential instability for survivors of IPV and their children.

“The report highlights the real and pressing need to improve Quebec’s legal framework in order to support victims of domestic violence and address the residential insecurity that frequently results,” says lawyer Pearl Eliadis, Associate Professor (Professional) at McGill University’s Max Bell School of Public Policy and co-chair of Q-HPPC’s gender research group. “We are recommending that the Quebec government put in place a human rights-based policy in order to enact the right to adequate housing.”

Despite significant reforms by successive governments to fight domestic violence, much remains to be done, says Melpa Kamateros, executive director of Shield of Athena Family Services and co-chair of Q-HPPC’s gender research group. “On the ground, there are still many issues for survivors of domestic violence, including access to suitable, affordable housing,” she explains. “The report identifies a number of solutions that could be quickly implemented to better support victims, such as changes to the eligibility criteria for financial assistance and social assistance.”

About the Québec Homelessness Prevention Policy Collaborative

The Québec Homelessness Prevention Policy Collaborative (Q-HPPC) is a joint partnership between the McGill University Department of Equity, Ethics and Policy and the Old Brewery Mission. Founded in 2021, the Q-HPPC is a cross-sectoral policy collaborative focused on homelessness prevention. It brings together members from academic institutions, community groups and the public sector to consider options and develop evidence-based recommendations for advancing policy reform in support of homelessness prevention in Québec. For more information, visit

The paper was prepared by the Gender Research Stream of the Q-HPPC. The Gender Research Stream is co-chaired by Pearl Eliadis, a human rights lawyer and Associate Professor (Professional) at the Max Bell School of Public Policy and Melpa Kamateros, Executive Director of the Shield of Athena Family Services. Other McGill faculty members of the team are Dr. Anne Andermann (Medicine) and Prof. Lara Khoury (Law).

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