KPU’s Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) hosts conference

Wed, Feb 27, 2013


Dr. Balbir Gurm
Dr. Balbir Gurm, nursing faculty, KPU

For immediate release

February 28, 2013

KPU’s Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) hosts conference

(Metro Vancouver, BC) – Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) and Surrey Women’s Centre, founding members of the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR), hosted a training conference on February 28, 2013. The conference titled, When Love Hurts: The Deadly Link Between Sexual Violence and Domestic Homicide, was made possible thanks to funding from the Ministry of Justice. When Love Hurts focused on the importance of training front-line personnel at all key intervention points to screen for gender-based violence. 

“All women experiencing domestic violence are at risk”, said Sonya Boyce, executive director at Surrey Women’s Centre. “But women also being sexually assaulted by their partners are at increased risk of losing their lives and the least likely to come forward. We know one in four women experience violence in her lifetime. That means 25% of the women you met this week may be at risk of losing their lives. We can reduce this risk through routine screening for violence in all settings where women come in touch with caring professionals.”

Dr. Shelley Ross, president of the British Columbia Medical Association, opened the conference, followed by a keynote address from Dr. Elaine Alpert, director of Interpersonal Violence program at UBC. Wendy van Tongeren, BC Crown Council, highlighted the legislation around sexual consent and explained what counts as evidence and the importance of documentation. Lynn Gifford, a registered nurse and clinical coordinator, and Corrine Arthur from the Surrey Mobile Assault Response Team (SMART), facilitated an interactive workshop. Professor Patti Janzen, School of Population and Public Health, UBC, focused on creating a trusting environment to conduct an interview to assess violence in relationships.

“Systematic reviews are consistently reporting that screening and intervention are associated with improved mental and physical health outcomes and reduced violence,” said Dr. Balbir Gurm, nursing faculty, KPU. “This is why NEVR brought together experts to provide the evidence in order to stress that each hospital needs to have a screening program and all front-line staff need to know how to screen and respond.”

The conference, held at KPU’s Surrey campus, brought together representatives from Ministry of Justice funded programs: Victim Services, Stopping the Violence Counselling, Children Who Witness Abuse Counselling and allied professionals in the health and legal sectors. NEVR will collate the ideas from the conference and create a Violence in Relationship Assessment Tool. The NEVR team will collaborate to work toward an implementation strategy of screening and referral across the system.

For more information about NEVR, visit  To join NEVR, contact Dr. Balbir Gurm at

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 18,000 students annually have a choice from over 200 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations.


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