Quebec’s Education Minister Jean-François Roberge recently announced the government’s commitment to studying the correlation between the impact of sexual violence and school dropout rates.
In a press release, Roberge admitted a link could exist, but his department is unable to take action due to insufficient data. Christine Labrie, Québec Solidaire’s education critic, said schools must play a greater role in preventing and responding to sexual violence.
“Not only must our schools provide an environment free of sexual violence, but they also have a preventive role to play by addressing the notion of consent and healthy relationships in depth, and by allowing young victims to be taken care of quickly,” she said.
Labrie is one of the reasons for getting this study off the ground. According to the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), 16 per cent of Quebecers have experienced sexual assault with contact before the age of 18, Labrie explained.
These are young people in the prime of their educational lives, she continued, schools need to be there to support them. She added that many teachers are too afraid to bring up the subject in class; they aren’t trained to handle these types of situations.