THE development of a South-of-the-Fraser community conflict resolution system and domestic violence court would help reduce violence against women in relationships, according to researchers at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
A report released Friday suggests a series of improvements to the current systems in Surrey, North Delta and White Rock that aim to prevent violence, serve victims, process perpetrators and educate the public. Recommendations include logistical changes, such as shorter service waitlists and court processes, the use of social media and workshops to educate and raise awareness, and increased collaboration between educators, the criminal justice system, medical services personnel and service providers.
“Many studies indicate that huge social problems such as domestic violence, which impacts one in four women in Canada, need to be addressed by systems as a whole,” says Dr. Balbir Gurm, KPU faculty member and principal investigator of the report. “This study was the first to use this model of system collaboration in Surrey, where victims, offenders, lawyers, police officers, health professionals, educators, business professionals and service providers from both government and non-government organizations worked together to better understand the current challenges in the system. The community will use the report to inform actions to make families safe.”
The release of the report coincided with the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which KPU recognizes annually. Surrey MLAs Sue Hammell and Harry Bains were among those who gathered at KPU Surrey to remember the 14 women killed at l’École Polytechnique in Montréal on December 6, 1989.
“Understanding Violence against Women in Relationships From Multiple Perspectives” was researched by KPU’s Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) in response to the local community’s demand for greater coordination and integration of local services. The final suggestions took into account the perspectives of various organizations that deal directly or indirectly with situations of violence, as well as the perspectives of victims and perpetrators. Working with Gurm on the report was the executive director of Genesis, Gary Thandi; former manager of the Surrey Women’s Centre, Maryam Majedi; and BCIT faculty member Sheila Early, along with KPU Nursing and Adler School of Professional Psychology students.
NEVR consists of over 40 organizations and 100 individuals who work toward reducing and eliminating violence in relationships in Surrey, North Delta and White Rock. For more information, visit: www.kpu.ca/NEVR.