Kwantlen conference explores domestic violence and the courts

November event aims to raise awareness about how the justice system deals with offenders and victims.

A conference to generate awareness and action about domestic violence will be held in Surrey next month.

Called Tipping the Scales of Justice: Supporting Women, Children, and Families, the event will be hosted by the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) founding members, including Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Women’s Centre, Justice Institute, PICS (Progressive Intercultural Community Services) and DIVERSEcity.

“This conference will bring together members of NEVR who represent government ministries, voluntary non-profit organizations, educational institutions, policing and community members,” said Dr. Balbir Gurm, nursing faculty member at Kwantlen.

“This is truly a day for the community to hear about different court models that are used in other parts of British Columbia and across Canada so that they, the community, can put forward their ideas on a more effective court system for Surrey and the surrounding area.”

Keynote speakers, Associate Chief Judge Gill, Provincial Director of Domestic Violence Cory Heavener, Chair of the B.C. Justice Reform Initiative (Quebec) Geoffrey Cowper, and Crown Counsel Simon Thomson will be presenting in the morning; a facilitated session on what an ideal justice system looks like will take place in the afternoon.

“This is a great opportunity for service providers to come together and dialogue about what we can do to enhance the safety and well-being of women, children and families,” said Gary Thandi, registered social worker and manager at DIVERSEcity.

“Domestic violence and how courts deal with offenders and victims should be everyone’s concern.”

Information from the conference will be collated and NEVR will work on potential strategies to work toward the ideal justice system. NEVR members will review the data and develop a concrete action plan for their organization and the community. They will seek input on the plan from a cross-sector of the community and lobby for policy change as needed.

NEVR is a community action group that was established in 2011. The group conducts research on what community members think can be done to improve the system in dealing with domestic violence. The group is currently interviewing members of the justice system, government departments, health care members, service providers, offenders and victims for their research. The purpose of NEVR is to work towards reducing and eliminating violence in relationships in Surrey, North Delta, and White Rock, through coordinated, open and seamless service delivery, collaboration, sharing of resources among service providers, community leaders, educators and government bodies.

The conference takes place Nov. 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Kwantlen’s Surrey Campus, 12666 72 Ave. Admission is $25 and lunch is included.

For more information, or to register, contact Maryam Majedi at or call 604-589-1868, ext.243.

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