#MeToo: Number of Montreal children, youth reporting abuse is rising

They did not speak out with the vociferousness of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow or Jennifer Lawrence about having been targets of unwanted sexual advances. But no doubt bolstered by the #MeToo movement, twice as many Montreal-area children and adolescents as the previous year came forward with revelations of the sexual abuse they had experienced.

Between October 2017 and March 2018, 164 requests for service were made to the Fondation Marie-Vincent, a Montreal social-service organization that helps young sexual abuse victims — up from 83 for the period in 2016 and early 2017. The figure has remained high, with about 30 requests each month. 

The organization, one of several child and youth advocacy centres in Canada, is the only place like it in Quebec and the only one in the country to focus exclusively on sexual abuse and violence. Although better known in the francophone community, it provides services in both languages. There is no charge to families.

One girl in five and one boy in 10 is sexually abused before the age of 18 and, in 95 per cent of cases, their abusers are people they knew and trusted: father, uncle, coach.

One strength of Fondation Marie-Vincent is that all services are provided under one roof.

“Instead of having to go to the police, then the doctor, then a therapist or social worker, the idea is that it is all in one place and the professionals come here,” said Annie Fournier, director of professional services.

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