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  Anti-Violence Conference a Major Success

May 16, 2014 15:05 ET

A major provincial conference focusing on preventing family violence in our South Asian communities wrapped up Thursday afternoon in Oshawa.

The two-day conference, titled Impact of Family Violence: A South Asian Perspective (FVC 2014), took place May 14 and 15 at Durham College/UOIT. It was organized by the Social Services Network (SSN) and the Durham Regional Police Service was proud to be a major sponsor and co-ordinator of the event.

FVC 2014 is part of a five-year initiative developed to understand the specific nature, systems and complex cultural and family dynamics that pose barriers and challenges to preventing and responding to abuse when it occurs in South Asian families. The conference helped connect the diverse South Asian population with key sectors and mainstream service providers involved in violence prevention and response. Family violence is not unique to South Asian families, but the culture is unique and a multi-partner approach is needed.

Some of the key organizers and supporters of the event were: Michael Bowe & Dr. Naila Butt (Co-chairs of the conference); Naushad Hirji, Board Chair of the Social Services Network; Dr. Nawal H. Ammar, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Criminology, Justice and Policing Studies at UOIT; and Dr. Susan Sproul, Dean of the School of Health & Community Services at Durham College. Key organizers from the DRPS included Chief Mike Ewles, Inspector Eva Reti, Sgt. Emmanuel Iheme and PEIC Dean June MacDonald-Jenkins

On Thursday morning, Aparna Bhattacharyya, Executive Director of Raksha in Atlanta, Georgia, spoke about the barriers South Asian victims must overcome to seek help. She stressed that domestic abuse was not about anger or rage, it is about control and manipulation. She urged victims to reach out for help, either through the police or a social services agency. She also called on local support networks to do more - help by offering services in multiple languages, and build stronger partnerships with South Asian communities.

Raksha, meaning "protection" in several South Asian languages, is a Georgia-based non-profit organization for the South Asian Community. Raksha's mission is to promote a stronger and healthier South Asian community through confidential support services, education, and advocacy. For more information, visit

Over the course of two days, there were over 20 presenters from various agencies who shared best practices in the field of family violence.

In addition to Aparna Bhattacharyya, the other keynote speaker was Dr. Yasmin Jiwani, Professor of Communications Studies at Concordia University in Montreal.

If you would like to learn more about the conference or the SSN, please contact Meccana Ali at 1-855-254-6104 or Follow some of the Twitter posts at: #SSNFVC.

Below are attached files.
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Aparna Bhattacharyya Speaks (JPG file, 139.8K bytes)
Several Hundred People Attended (JPG file, 151.6K bytes)