The Quebec Council on the Status of Women says not much has changed since the tragic Shafia murders and it wants the Quebec government to do more to spread awareness and to help prevent more people from becoming victims of honour crimes.
The council was mandated to study the issue following the murders of the Shafia sisters and their aunt by the girls' father, mother and brother five years ago.
The council's 178-page report, the first of its kind in Canada, documented 17 cases of honours crimes in Canada since 1991 involving 26 victims , only five of whom survived; five of the victims were men.
It describes a case in Montreal where the husband of a 21-year-old Tamil woman from Sri Lanka slit her throat in 2012. It was an arranged marriage. The victim had made three police complaints about her husband who was known to be a violent person. The 27-year-old man was arrested after the third complaint for conjugal violence. The victim's father defended his son-in-law, telling police he was harmless. Weeks before she died, the victim went to court to ask her husband be freed on bail.
The council says such crimes are only the tip of the iceberg since honour and religion-based violence takes on many forms and often goes unreported, listing incidents that don't go as far as murder such as excessive control over teens, virginity tests, genital mutilation and arranged marriages.
The council also says it's important not to stigmatize one specific community since they've seen many different cases involving many different cultures and religions.
Their seven recommendations for the Quebec government include more awareness and police training programs, changing youth protection laws and doing more to inform women of their rights.
The council goes as far as to recommend emulating the reforms that took place in the U.K., which introduced special laws to deal with arranged marriages, as well as special training for police and social workers. They also set up special women's shelters, smart phone apps and telephone help lines for victims.
Council president Julie Miville-Dechêne said at a news conference that she believes following this model is feasible.
"Yes, it's a difficult proposition," Miville-Dechêne said.
"But everybody was horrified by the Shafia murders and we don't want anything like that to be possible in Quebec."