Jessie Lehail is the organizer of this weekend's Meri Awaaz symposium on domestic violence in Surrey.

Jessie Lehail is the organizer of this weekend's Meri Awaaz symposium on domestic violence in Surrey.

Surrey symposium gives a voice to domestic violence

Meri Awaaz takes place March 8 at SFU Surrey.

by Steph Troughton

Domestic violence in B.C. continues to be on the rise.

Last year, the BC Coroner’s Service reported 14 spousal homicides occurred in the province – a five-year all-time high.

As a result, magazine editor and film festival promoter Jessie Lehail wanted to organize an educational event that would help those suffering violence in the home.

“We needed to do something because nobody else seemed to be doing anything about a problem of this magnitude,” she said.

To be held on International Women’s Day, March 8, the Meri Awaaz symposium in Surrey will host eight expert panelists and even include the recitation of a Punjabi poem written by a victim of domestic violence. The focus of the event is to work collaboratively with women’s groups to facilitate awareness on the topic of abuse of South Asian women.

Meri Awaaz or “My Voice” is an educational platform described as a place where citizens can connect in different capacities which includes reporting and discussing local domestic violence issues.

Earlier this month, the B.C. government announced it was using $3 million in civil forfeiture funds to pay for a new Domestic Violence Unit in Surrey – the sixth of its kind to open in the province. The unit is part of a new, three-year $5.5-million Provincial Domestic Violence Plan that was coordinated through the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence.

The symposium will run from 12-4 p.m. in room 2600 at the Simon Fraser University Surrey campus (13450 102 Ave.).

Admission is free but donations are being collected for the Surrey Women’s Centre.

For more information, visit http://bit.ly/18gs37c

 

 

 

 

Surrey North Delta Leader