The Gleaner

Commerces-Secours: Creating a safety net for victims of domestic violence

Commerces-Secours, a regional initiative to provide a haven for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or abuse in collaboration with local businesses, unveiled its distinctive new website and branding on March 14.

Representatives from several community organizations dedicated to supporting victims of domestic or sexual violence in Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Beauharnois-Salaberry, and the Haut-Saint-Laurent gathered at the Musée de sociéte des Deux-Rives (MUSO) in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield for the launch. They were joined by Pierre-Olivier Gagnon, the chief prosecutor for the western Quebec office of the Directeur de poursuites criminelles et pénales, several officers from the Sûreté du Québec and regional police forces, as well as Salaberry-Suroît MP Claude DeBellefeuille and representatives for provincial MNAs Carole Mallette, Claude Reid, Marie-Claude Nichols, and Marilyn Picard.

The drive behind the innovative project stems from Maryse Filion, a domestic abuse survivor who wanted to help other victims find help. Commerces-Secours brings together a network of local businesses offering a safe and discreet environment where victims of domestic violence can go to access support.

Participating businesses are identified by a Commerces-Secours sticker in the front window. Employees are provided with awareness training so they can welcome and reassure victims while directing them to a safe space within the building where they will find appropriate resources.

“We’re looking to provide a safe place for victims of domestic violence, but we’re also aiming to build a strong social safety net throughout the region, demonstrating that this issue is a priority for our community,” said Filion.


Members of the committee behind the Commerces Secours initiative unveiled the new website and branding affiliated with the organization on March 14 in Salaberry de Valleyfield PHOTO Sarah Rennie


The initiative was originally launched as a pilot project in 2021 by the Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Suroît domestic and sexual violence committees. The 13-person committee behind the project now includes representatives from the Haut-Saint-Laurent as well.

There are currently six organizations participating in the program, including the IGA Extra Famille Vincent in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, the IGA Extra Famille Viau in Vaudreuil-Dorion, the Familiprix pharmacy in Saint-Polycarpe, the Jean-Coutu in Île-Perrot, as well the Municipality of Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, and the City of Beauharnois.

The new website, which was also unveiled as part of the launch, is designed to allow victims to find participating businesses quickly and easily. The site also provides a centralized location for information on different support organizations and resources within the region.

The website includes a simple form that businesses interested in participating in the initiative can submit online. A representative from Commerces-Secours will respond quickly to complete the registration process.

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