Conference puts the ‘silent pandemic’ of relationship violence in focus

Fri, May 12, 2023

Keynote speakers at NEVR conference

Relationship violence survivors, along with anti-violence workers and researchers, will come together for an upcoming virtual conference supported by Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU).

The Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) is hosting its 13th annual conference over four upcoming mornings – May 18 and 25, and June 1 and 8 – with a theme of Programs, Prevention, Practice.

"Participants will engage in dialogue and action with a focus of using our limited resources to adapt programs for all communities,” says Dr. Balbir Gurm, founder of NEVR and an instructor in faculty of nursing at KPU. “Violence between two or more people who know each other is a silent pandemic. It is time to recognize the urgency and work on prevention.”

The conference will feature anti-violence workers and researchers from a range of sectors and disciplines as well as people with lived experience of relationship violence. Participants will explore programs aimed at preventing relationship violence, learn about prevention efforts, and hear from those whose practice serves those affected by relationship violence.

"The conference provides a unique opportunity for the community to share and dialogue about new strategies to disrupt the abuse cycle and the generational trauma,” says Melissa Jay, vice-president of NEVR.

Keynote speakers include University of Edinburgh scholars Dr. John Devaney and Dr. Claire Houghton, educator and consultant Len Pierre, Canadian Institute of Workplace Bullying Resources founder Linda Crockett, and domestic violence advocate Karen Estabrooks.

Among those supporting the conference is B.C. Attorney General Niki Sharma, who says intimate partner violence continues to have a devastating impact on people from all walks of life.

“Organizations like the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships are critical to helping people connect to the services and supports they need to leave an abusive relationship and begin to rebuild their lives. I’m so thankful to everyone doing this work and I'm committed to working alongside you to make our province a safer place for everyone,” says Sharma.

NEVR, a nonprofit community action organization established in 2011, campaigns to eliminate violence in relationships in local communities. It focuses on all aspects of relationship violence – physical, sexual, emotional and financial – and its effects on all members of a family and community. Its 200 members from various organizations in the fields of community services, education, law enforcement, and government, are currently developing a coordinated strategy to prevent relationship violence in Surrey, North Delta, Burnaby, and White Rock.

Participation in the conference is open to academics, members of community organizations, and the public. Tickets to the conference, $50 for all four days, are available online.