Durham Regional Chief Constable Mike Ewles helped open the Building Resiliency symposium in Oshawa Thursday, stressing the need for a more "victim-centric" approach to helping victims, involving all of the agencies involved in the community.
The 4th annual symposium brought experts in victim supports together to talk about some of the strategies victims can use to deal with the life-changing events that occur in their lives. Experts in the field of victim services also spoke, including Margot Van Sluytman, a highly respected and sought after Restorative Justice Advisor and Murray Hillier, a Registered Nurse and the Clinical Educator at Mental Health Services Providence Care hospital in Kingston Ontario.
The morning session featured Shannon Moroney, authour of the best-selling memoir Through the Glass, which chronicles her pursuit of justice, healing and forgiveness following the violent crimes of her husband in 2005. An inspirational public speaker and advocate of restorative justice, her story moved the audience as she talked about the multi-year process she went through to forgive her husband and start a new life for herself.
She told the large crowd gathered at the consolidated courthouse in downtown Oshawa that there were six keys to building resliency for victims of crime: resourcefulness, resolve, relationships, restoration, role models and reserves (physical and emotional energy).
The symposium was offered by the Victim Advisory Committee Ontario – Nunavut Region in partnership with Correctional Services Canada (CSC), Parole Board Canada (PBC), Victim Services of Durham Region (VSDR) & the Victim Witness Assistance Program.
Jade Harper of VSDR said there was a tremendous benefit of bringing so many experts in the field together to discuss the multitude of issues.
"The value of bringing people together is to remind us that helping victims is a dynamic and fluid process involving a wide variety of supports and that we are all a part of that process," she said, "We have to do a better job of providing 'trauma-informed care' in this province and understand that these crimes impact more people than just the victim - that there is a ripple effect on family, friends, neighbours and many others."
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Shannon Moroney Speaks About Her Ordeal (JPG file, 147.8K bytes)
The Large Turnout at the Symposium (JPG file, 164.3K bytes)