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  DRPS Teams Up to Target Domestic Violence

Oct 18, 2013 15:02 ET

DRPS is pleased to be a partner with the Social Services Network (SSN), Durham College and UOIT to bring a major anti-domestic violence conference to Durham Region.

DRPS Chief Constable Mike Ewles spoke on October 18 at Durham College/UOIT during the SSN’s announcement of its 4th Annual Impact of Family Violence Conference: a South Asian Perspective. On May 14 to 15, 2014, the conference, which will focus on family violence in the South Asian community, will be held at Durham College/UOIT and aims to raise awareness and support of the movement to eliminate family violence.

Chief Ewles spoke passionately at the announcement today about the PADAN Award that was given last night involving an abused woman with kids who was being held in an Ajax home by her spouse. She was terrified to leave, only spoke Farsi and didn’t even know what street she lived on or where her kids went to school.

He went on to say that although domestic violence calls and other crimes are slowly decreasing, we spend most of our time responding to incidents, not preventing them. He said we have to address this prevention piece and that it will take all community partners to work together to make a difference. He pledged his full support for this May conference and, even though he is retiring shortly after the conference is over, pledged to continue to work on this community problem in the future.

This conference was initiated by Zul Kassamali, a leader in the multicultural outreach community. He started the first multicultural conference about domestic violence in 1987 and it was called “Enough is Enough.” Zul called on the funding partners, especially levels of government, to invest more resources into this social problem. He said, as Canadians, we tend to “talk too much with very little action” on this issue and that he will continue trying to increase multicultural sensitivity throughout our community.

Multiple speakers at this announcement identified domestic violence as a global, national, provincial and municipal issue, but that there are challenges unique to the South Asian community, including language barriers and a lack of support services.

The most moving speech came from Shivana Choonsingh, a young woman born in Trinidad and raised in Scarborough, who outlined the controlling relationship she was in with a boyfriend. Every time she wanted to leave, he would change his abusive ways, but they would return. Her self-esteem eventually eroded away and she was made to feel useless. He attempted to control her activities. Eventually, she was helped through this by a close friend and she managed to develop the courage to call police, who connected her with suitable community resources. An officer explained to her the process of getting a restraining order and offered to call the boyfriend to explain to him the consequences of his actions. She was able to break free, rebuild her self-esteem and now works as a volunteer to help other women. She now lives in Durham Region and is a supporter of this conference.

The 4th Annual Impact of Family Violence Conference: a South Asian Perspective will be held on May 14 to 15, 2014 at Durham College and UOIT. For more information, visit

Below are attached files.
Thumb (JPG file, 37.1K bytes)
Michael Bowe and Dr. Naila Butt of Social Services Network (JPG file, 508.4K bytes)
Chief Ewles addresses the crowd (JPG file, 501.9K bytes)
The SSN conference panel (JPG file, 557.1K bytes)