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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
Home > Press centre > Press releases > 2017 > September 27, 2017

Inauguration of a women’s shelter for victims of family violence in Waswanipi

Waswanipi, September 27, 2017. – A women’s shelter for victims of family violence was inaugurated Monday in Waswanipi. The development of this historic $3.7 million-dollar project in a Cree community is the result of commitments made in the spirit of the principles enshrined in the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, and implemented via the Agreement Concerning the Administration of Justice for the Crees.

The Minister responsible for Native Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley, was present for the occasion, accompanied by the MNA for Ungava, Jean Boucher, to underline the importance of providing all necessary resources to contribute to the reduction of the serious social and economic impacts caused by the problems of family and spousal violence. This initiative is managed by the Crees in keeping with the responsibilities entrusted to the Cree Nation Government and the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay. Its implementation represents an improvement in the services provided in the Cree communities. Previously, victims had to exile themselves from the community to find assistance and a safe haven. The Waswanipi shelter will now welcome women and children from Cree communities within the James Bay Eeyou Istchee territory. Another shelter, in Waskaganish, will soon welcome clientele from the coastal Cree communities. These institutions will provide prevention and intervention programs and services related to family and spousal violence. In the event of difficulties, women will be able to obtain the help and support that they need, in their own language and in a manner which shows respect for their culture. Moreover, every effort is being made to ensure that the clientele and staff will be safe and secure in the shelter at all times. The peaceful environment we are creating will enable women in need to receive the services they require, and help to foster conditions that will enable them to contemplate new prospects for the future.

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“It was an important day for the Cree Nation. Finally, women who are victims of violence and their families will be able to find the support, safety and reassurance that they need in the Waswanipi shelter. I believe that we all have a duty to work together to come to the assistance of the women of Native communities, by offering them the best possible conditions to overcome the difficulties that they experience and to facilitate their healing. I also wish to thank all those who work toward this end, particularly the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Cree Nation Government, as well as the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay and the Cree Women of Eeyou Istchee Association.”

Geoffrey Kelley, Minister responsible for Native Affairs

“I am pleased that this project has been developed within the Cree community. It was essential to be able to provide a safe haven for women without their needing to leave the region, thereby contributing to the well-being of the Cree Nation and its members. This shelter will certainly be able to inspire other Native communities facing the same needs. I am therefore very proud of our Government’s contribution to this historic achievement.”

Lucie Charlebois, Minister for Rehabilitation, Youth Protection, Public Health and Healthy Living

“I am very glad to see this project take concrete form. The Cree women of the region need the best possible resources available, to be able to benefit from a safe and healthy environment for themselves and for their children. This shelter, which was much anticipated, is more than a place where they can be housed; it is also a place where they can build their future.”

Jean Boucher, MNA for Ungava and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks

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Online as of: September 27, 2017