Metro Vancouver, B.C. – The B.C. government unveiled its Provincial Domestic Violence Plan Wednesday at a Network to End Violence in Relationships (NEVR) conference held at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development, released the government’s three-year, $5.5-million plan to make B.C. safer for victims of domestic violence; a strategy distilled from extensive consultations with anti-violence and community groups.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General Suzanne Anton and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts also spoke at the conference, along with representatives from the Delta Police Department, Ending Violence Association of BC, KPU and NEVR. The event at the university’s Surrey campus aimed to open a province-wide dialogue about ending domestic violence. The models courts can use to deal with instances of domestic violence were also discussed in panel and roundtable discussions.
"A key focus of NEVR is to foster collaboration to resolve the issues courts are faced with when dealing with violence in relationships. That focus was achieved this week as our conference participants worked together to identify the fundamental issues courts should be addressing when it comes to domestic violence, and the goals they should be striving toward,” says Dr. Balbir Gurm, KPU nursing instructor and facilitator of NEVR. “We also heard from knowledgeable and experienced professionals. Now, we’re taking the information learned at the conference, and the issues raised in our discussions, and will work on building a framework for how we as a community, and we as a province, can most effectively tackle violence in relationships.”
The province’s new domestic violence plan includes the creation of additional specialized domestic violence units, programs for Aboriginal families, direct services for perpetrators and improved access to services and social housing for survivors of domestic violence in rural and remote communities. The plan also includes specific approaches to address the unique needs of immigrant and refugee women, and women with disabilities.
“We recognize the anti-violence sector has called for more funding and resources, and we know there is still more work to be done to address violence against women on a larger scale. This plan is the next essential step as we continue to build on the good work we’re doing in collaboration with the community anti-violence sector to make B.C. a safer place for women and families,” says Cadieux.
Says Anton: “Domestic violence is a complex, challenging problem with tragic consequences for our lives, families, and communities. To help women at risk, we know we must share information, break down silos and work together. The Provincial Domestic Violence Plan will help us to better reach women and families who are struggling, sometimes for their lives, and assure them they’re not alone and there is hope.”
Highlights of the plan include:
$1-million to help with the startup and implementation of additional specialized domestic violence units, which will provide direct services to high-risk families.
$2-million to develop and deliver programs specifically for Aboriginal women, men and children affected by domestic violence – including victims and perpetrators.
$1-million to provide support and intervention for perpetrators to hold them accountable and support changes in behaviour and attitude.
$1.5-million in direct supports to women and children for housing and transportation in rural and remote communities.
For more information on the B.C. government’s Provincial Domestic Violence Plan, visit: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/podv/index.htm.
The Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) works toward reducing and eliminating violence in relationships in Surrey, North Delta and White Rock through coordinated service delivery, collaboration and resource-sharing among service providers, community leaders, educators and government bodies. For more information, visit: www.kpu.ca/NEVR.
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 145 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations. Learn more at www.kpu.ca.
Caption: Dignitaries, special guests and NEVR members gathered at KPU Surrey on Wednesday as the province unveiled its domestic violence plan.