Domestic Violence and Firearms: Ensemble Montréal, PolySeSouvient, and Halte-Femmes Montréal-Nord Unite Their Voices 

Montréal, March 7–On the onset of International Women’s Day, representatives from the PolySeSouvient group, the organization Halte-Femmes Montréal-Nord, and elected officials from Ensemble Montréal assembled on Thursday at Montreal City Hall to underscore their backing for women who are victims of domestic violence. They are calling for concrete actions from all levels of government to better protect these women, particularly in relation to firearms control, as they are present in approximately 25% of reported cases of domestic violence in the country.  

To complement the C-21 bill, adopted on December 14th of last year, PolySeSouvient representatives are urging the federal government not only to strengthen and expand C-21 with robust regulations but also to fulfill its electoral commitments by banning all assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Additionally, the mandatory buyback program for assault weapons should be implemented as quickly as possible to remove these weapons from circulation and destroy them before the fall 2025 elections. At the provincial level, the government should ensure a higher rate of firearm registration in accordance with the Quebec Firearms Registration Act, as PolySeSouvient estimates that around 30% of long guns are not registered. 

Actions Expected from the City of Montreal 

At the municipal level, the City of Montreal is urged to implement the commitments proposed by Ensemble Montréal and unanimously adopted by the city council in March 2021 and again in 2022, to alleviate the burden on victims and community organizations. Among the measures expected to be implemented promptly are: 

  • The free provision of available spaces in the City of Montreal for organizations supporting victims of domestic violence who struggle with a lack of space for their consultations due to occupancy rates. 
  • The launch of two periodic communication campaigns to encourage all concerned individuals to seek help: 
  • The first campaign to disseminate contact information for available resources for victims in Montreal. 
  • The second campaign to share contact information for resources dedicated to individuals exhibiting violent behavior. 

It is worth noting that firearms are the first or second most commonly used weapons in crimes committed in the context of domestic violence, depending on the year. In 2021, service calls and cases of victimization related to domestic violence accounted for over 23% of all reported crimes against persons in Montreal. 


“The presence of firearms in cases of domestic violence increases the risk of death by twelvefold. As we work towards providing resources for domestic violence victims, it is crucial to ensure their protection. This requires stringent gun laws, including the proactive removal of firearms in domestic violence situations. Additionally, there is a critical need to outright ban weapons and accessories designed for quick and efficient harm to humans. The complete prohibition of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines remains unrealized. While eradicating domestic violence may be an ambitious goal, preventing the worst outcomes is within our reach. The City of Montreal has taken a leading role among municipalities in addressing this issue, and we urge them to continue supporting our cause,” stated Heidi Rathjen, coordinator of the PolySeSouvient collective. 

“By fighting to protect intimate violence victims from firearms, we are not only ensuring the safety of the population but also helping a system cope with the damages caused by violence. Today’s demands cover a broad field of action: what we can do to better protect victims of domestic violence and what we can do to support and disseminate resources that aid these victims,” said Sophie Lemay, Executive Director of Halte-Femmes Montréal-Nord. 

“In 2019, Ensemble Montréal submitted a motion for effective firearms control with the support of PolySeSouvient. Despite some progress, here we are five years later still talking about the damages and tragedies caused by this violence. To me, it shows that we must be less timid when it comes to enhancing protection and support for victims,” declared Abdelhaq Sari, spokesperson for the Official Opposition on public security. 

“With each tragic death and reported case of domestic violence, we tell ourselves that it’s one victim too many and that there should not be one more. Today, we call on all levels of government to move from words to action and strengthen their support, both for victims and the resources that assist them. Each of them has the capacity to act against domestic violence,” supported Stephanie Valenzuela, spokesperson for the Official Opposition on women’s issues. 

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