Press release


Overcoming the unimaginable, rediscovering hope

The Marie-Vincent Foundation: giving ourselves the means to help a greater number of young victims of sexual violence

Montréal, October 25 2021 – Given that 99% of children supported by Marie-Vincent know their abuser, the Foundation is officially launching Overcoming the unimaginable, rediscovering hope, an awareness campaign that aims to bring issues relating to sexual violence toward children, particularly cybersexual violence, to the public eye. Marie-Vincent also unveils statistics that shed fresh light on the reality of the young people it helps.

The data collected by the Marie-Vincent Research Chair shows that in nearly 75% of all cases, the abuser is a member of the child’s immediate or extended family. Sexual abuse involves more than one occurrence for close to 80% of children and, despite their young age, 65% of children encountered at Marie-Vincent are victims of severe sexual abuse. Many report having post-traumatic stress symptoms.

“Sadly, it is untrue to think that we can protect a child by simply telling them not to talk to strangers. Prevention, sexuality education and promoting egalitarian relationships, particularly through play with children from 0 to 5 years, are of the utmost importance. It allows them, from a very early age, to recognize risky situations and identify trustworthy adults” explains Stéphanie Gareau, Executive Director at the Marie-Vincent Foundation.

Online sexual violence: a very real issue

Marie-Vincent also found that online violence is an ever-growing scourge throughout Québec. Within the framework of a project to prevent sexual violence among young people, Marie-Vincent has collected data from 850 high school students. The results speak volume: close to 1 in 5 teenagers report having received an intimate picture circulating without the prior consent of the person, while 36% of teenage girls report having been asked for a nude or sexually suggestive photo of themselves.

Physical abuse

Another finding of the Marie-Vincent Chair confirms that sexual violence rarely occurs in isolation. Three-quarters of child victims have also experienced at least one other form of abuse. Of these, 44% have been victims of physical abuse.

“In light of this situation, Marie-Vincent has decided to broaden its mission and develop a service offer for young victims of physical abuse in its new Child & Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) in Châteauguay. These services, offered as a pilot project for the Montérégie area, are expected to be made more widely available subsequently as we continue to better meet the needs of young victims,” adds Ms. Gareau.

Services with a real impact

Children and adolescents victim of sexual violence overcome the unimaginable. Nearly 2 in 5 children report having post-traumatic stress symptoms. That being said, research done by the Chair shows that thanks to services provided by Marie-Vincent, there is a significant improvement in the young victims’ symptoms. Services at Marie-Vincent have a real impact and help children rediscover hope.

“Not only do our services work, but 76% of the young people we encounter report they really liked the therapy at Marie-Vincent. When they first come to us, the sexual abuse they were victim of is the event that defines them. But when they leave, it has become part of their history, not their life’s defining moment. Young people yearn for a better life where they can reach their full potential.

It is imperative that we continue to invest in our services to build a protective community for our children and adolescents. Together, we have the power change things,” sumps up Ms. Gareau.

About Marie-Vincent

The Marie-Vincent Foundation supports children and adolescents victim of sexual and physical violence by providing the services they need, under one roof. It also helps their family to overcome this ordeal by seeing they are provided specialized support.

Marie-Vincent helps prevent sexual violence by focusing on children, adolescents, parents, professionals and the general population. It is in this spirit of prevention that the Foundation also helps address sexual behaviour problems in children.

Marie-Vincent collaborates with committed partners so as to strengthen capacities by training professionals who work in direct contact with vulnerable young people. Lastly, it builds on best practices in the sexual violence field by supporting the Interuniversity Research Chair and staying abreast of new social realities.



For further information

Frédérique Lorrain
Cell. : 450 702-0339


Dominique Rivet-Dugal

Marie-Vincent Foundation

Cell.: 514 652-5570