The major recommendations arising from a two-day conference on family violence in South Asian communities were released at a press conference in Whitby on November 25.
The conference, entitled Family Violence: A South Asian Perspective, was held on May 14-15, 2014 at UOIT/Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. It was co-hosted by the Social Services Network (SSN) and the Durham Regional Police Service and explored the many issues and barriers facing victims of violence from South Asian communities.
Over the course of two days, approximately 650 attendees participated, coming from all over Ontario, with key participation from other provinces and the United States. Although family violence cuts across all cultures and income groups, there are even greater challenges in South Asian communities due to family pressures, arranged marriages and strong cultural beliefs.
I am extremely proud of the work of this network and what we accomplished so far, but there is still much more work to be done, said Chief Paul Martin. Our goal is to eradicate family violence and, in order to do so, our focus needs to be on continuous training and education.
The main recommendations from the conference identified the need for:
South Asian-specific trauma and psychotherapeutic tools and curriculum;
Sector-specific training modules for mainstream front-line service providers ( i.e. police, victim service providers, seniors, etc.)
Sensitivity training for media and police officers on how to report incidents of family violence pertinent to South Asian and other immigrant populations ( e.g. not to mention immigrant status, country of origin or showing the commonalities or patterns between all cases of domestic violence, etc.)
Ongoing individual support for families, youth and older adults that would allow for long- term, personal and family-centered planning; and
Community development work that is rooted in local communities where relevant sectors can come together with South Asian community leaders to identify and implement community-specific interventions and supports.
The conference provided eight core workshops that offered an opportunity for service providers and policy makers to learn more about violence against South Asian women, elder abuse, working with survivors, the legal and immigration systems and how to advocate for change. Over 200 South Asian men, women, seniors and youth attended.
There were also smaller workshops organized and delivered by community-based and academic organizations on a variety of topics including, narratives of South Asian survivors, understanding the experiences of violence for South Asian people with disabilities and those from the LGBTQ communities, forced marriages, engaging men, sexual violence and the media, and much more.
Activities outside of the workshops included keynote speakers Dr. Yasmin Jiwani of Concordia University and Aparna Bhattacharyya the Executive Director of Raksha in Atlanta Georgia, the Punjabi Partners musical performance, a multi-faith panel discussing violence against women and many poster presentations and information booths which gave community partners the opportunity to share their resources and provide information on their services.
Deputy Chief Scott Burns also stressed the importance men play in the reduction of family violence. The men in our community need to talk about his issue and take a leadership role in being a part of the solution. Males account for 90 per cent of the offenders in family violence incidents.
The Durham Regional Police Service was proud to co-sponsor of this important event and wish the Social Services Network continued success at its next conference in Ottawa in May 2015.
For more information about the success of the conference, please contact:
*Dr. Naila Butt, Executive Director, Social Services Network, 1-905-940-7864 ext. 221
*Doris Rajan, Director of Social Development, IRIS, York University, 1- 416 409-7025
*Meccana Ali at Social Services Network, firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-905-940-7864 ext. 223
Social Services Network Conference (JPG file, 153.4K bytes)
Chief Martin speaks to the importance of eradicating family violence (JPG file, 113.6K bytes)
Working with our community partners (JPG file, 919.2K bytes)