Working together to fight street harassment

Our city is no exception to the problem of street harassment. The City of Montréal, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) are working together to fight street harassment in Montréal by taking concrete action to make public spaces safer and more welcoming for everyone.

Street harassment: stop it. Witnesses, take action.

In collaboration with community organizations, we are raising public awareness with a campaign titled “Street harassment : stop it. Witnesses, take action.” to inform people on how to recognize street harassment and what to do if they witness it.

Witnesses play an important role

In just over half of reported incidents, nobody stepped in to help the target*. We all need to come together to fight street harassment. The first step is raising awareness. The downplaying of street harassment is part of why the problem still exists and why this behaviour is seen as normal.

Getting involved can be intimidating. Take action in whatever way you feel most comfortable. It doesn’t matter what you decide to do—even small actions can make all the difference. The important thing is to learn how to recognize street harassment and take action as a community.

Safe public spaces for all

Everyone has the right to move freely in public spaces, regardless of gender, nationality, age, social status, ability, skin colour, religion or sexual orientation. The City of Montréal has been working to fight street harassment for a number of years. It intends to continue preventing street harassment to ensure a welcoming, tolerant and violence-free city for all.

City of Montréal actions for a safe and equitable city

  • City council declaration against sexualized violence (2018)
  • Participation in UN Women’s global initiative “Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces” (2019)
  • Support for community initiatives to prevent sexualized violence in public spaces
  • Financial support for the development of quantitative research on street harassment in Montréal (2021)
  • Preparation and distribution of a guide to safe urban planning principles, “Créer des lieux publics où l’on se sent en sécurité” [Creating public spaces where people feel safe] (2022), advocating for the design of safe infrastructure and public spaces for girls, women and the general public.
  • City council declaration to strengthen the fight against street harassment in Montréal (2022)

STM actions for a welcoming public transit network

  • Between Stops service expanded to be available to anyone travelling alone or with a child between 7:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. year-round. The service was established by the STM in 1996. It was initially for women only but was expanded in September 2022. 
  • Front-line staff made aware of empathetic ways to interact with targets and witnesses of harassment, as well as how to report an incident and direct customers to help and support services.
  • STM special constables tasked with patrolling facilities. Teams work closely with the SPVM.

SPVM dedicated platform for hate crimes and hate incidents

The Module des incidents et crimes haineux (MICH) is a specialized unit of the SPVM created in 2016.

Its purpose is to prevent and combat hate crimes and hate incidents and make Montrealers feel safer. Learn more about why it’s important to report these incidents (video in French).

The MICH deals exclusively with crimes and incidents that are motivated by hate, conducting investigations, analyses and prevention activities.

* “Rapport de recherche sur le harcèlement de rue à Montréal.” UQAM/CÉAF. Courcy, Isabelle, Lavoie Mongrain, Catherine, Blais, Mélissa (2022). Back to the source #1