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Sexual Abuse

Legal procedures

Filing a police complaint

A complaint can be filed either at the police station of the area where the offense was perpetrated or in another location, such as the victim’s home or hospital. An investigator is then assigned to the case and is in charge of the case for the entire duration of the investigation. The investigator acts as the link between the victim, the parents, and the Crown Prosecutor.

As soon as a case of sexual abuse is reported to the Director of Youth Protection, a caseworker contacts the police and the crown prosecutor. Conversely, when a complaint is filed with the police, it is reported to the Director of Youth Protection. This sociojudicial protocol (multisectorial agreement) allows for a coordinated response to ensure the welfare and protection of young victims of violent crimes. It also serves to prevent any unnecessary delays or duplication of investigative procedures.

The police investigation

The investigator gathers information from various persons; the plaintiff, the parents, witnesses, loved-ones, the medical examiner, etc. The investigator also questions the child.

The disclosure interview
When, how, and why a video?

The objective of the disclosure interview is to get the child’s testimony. This type of interview has to be handled in a vigorous manner by the police officer in charge of the investigation. A representative from the Director of Youth Protection (DYP) usually attends the interview from an adjacent room, either behind a mirror-glass wall or in front of a monitor.

Video recording the disclosure interview with the victim serves to:

  • Avoid having to put the child through multiple and repetitive interviews;
  • Keep a record of the first official version of the events as told by the victim;
  • Capture the victim’s body language (facial expressions, body position).

This video recording may later be used during the trial, particularly in the case of criminal proceedings.

Filing a police report does not automatically mean that the perpetrator is guilty or will have to face criminal proceedings. The Crown Prosecutor will make this decision after all of the evidence of the police investigation has been gathered and examined.


Crime Victims Assistance Centre (CAVAC)

Compensation for victims of a criminal act

In Quebec, crime victims are eligible to receive financial compensation and assistance in accordance with the Crime Victims Compensation Act (IVAC). This compensation enables the victim to get the care they need to regain their life.

To admit the child to the program, the parents must apply by completing a form. Applications for children must be submitted within one year of the disclosure date of the sexual abuse. Parents who do not submit their application within the prescribed deadline may submit it at a later time with an explanation for their late submission.


Crime Victims Assistance Centre (CAVAC)


  1. Ibid.
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Updated on 10/6/2014
Created on 10/6/2014
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