06/27/2013 10:24 EDT | Updated 08/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Father who found children dead wins victim compensation appeal

For the first time in four decades, the province’s victim compensation board has been forced to expand its definition of “victim.”

Until this week, it had refused to compensate Patrick Desautels, the Drummondville father who found his three children dead at their mother’s home.

The children’s mother, Sonia Blanchette, has been charged with murder.

On Dec. 2, 2012, Desautels received a call from the children’s maternal grandmother, who said his two daughters and one son had been drowned.

He rushed to their mother’s home, thinking he could save them, but it was too late. The girls, aged 2 and 5, and 4-year-old boy were all dead.

Desautels said the images haunt him, causing flashbacks so intense the administrative tribunal of the victim compensation board said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Some days are better than others. At night, nightmares,” he said.

Unable to work, he applied for financial help from IVAC, Quebec’s victims of crime compensation board, but the board twice refused his request.

Desautels' lawyer Marc Bellemare said the board didn’t consider the father a victim.

“Patrick was not injured physically. He was injured mentally because he found the children at the crime scene,” Bellemare said.

The administrative tribunal sided with Desautels, creating a precedent.

In addition to being compensated for not being able to work, the program will also cover his therapy costs for as long as he needs counselling.