Very seldom has Josee Miljours attended a sexual abuse or domestic violence conference that talks directly to the French-speaking community.
The March 10 event, "It's Everybody’s Business. Speak Up!", was the Toronto Police Service’s first-ever French domestic violence conference at the college.
“It’s very important that the police are doing this and it’s offered in French,” said Miljours.
She is one of seven regional abuse consultants with Elder Abuse Ontario.
They are responsible for coordinating community services, providing training for frontline staff and public education & awareness.
“My hope is that this conference can assist service-providers working with seniors to gain knowledge about how to access services and how to help their clients,” said Miljours.
Area Field Command Acting Staff Superintendent Rob Johnson joined Inspector Dave Rydzik, of the Divisional Policing Support Unit, in welcoming delegates to the one-day conference.
Johnson said domestic violence affects individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or nationality.
“It is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behaviour,” he added. “The devastating physical, emotional and psychological consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime. We know victims of domestic violence find it difficult to contact the police for a variety of reasons. Having a language barrier in the mix compounds the issue.
“This conference is a great opportunity to bring together our community partners and the police to provide information and resources. I hope that the knowledge and information you gain today will assist you in raising awareness in your communities and further help to enhance the relationship between the public and the police.”
Rydzik said the significance of the event could not be under-estimated.
“This is a very important event for us,” he noted. “We really do embrace the French culture. In addition, domestic violence affects us all and we want to keep the conversation going.”
Detective Ann-Marie Tupling, the Service’s Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Coordinator, said domestic violence is an unfortunate reality.
“It affects many families in our community,” said the 2009 Toronto Police Service Officer of the Year while assigned to 55 Division. “…In order to assist victims of domestic violence, social agencies must work together, each with its own expertise, while having the same goal and that is to provide assistance and minimize the impact it can have on a family. The Toronto Police Service believes we can reduce domestic violence through education and awareness. This brings us here today to this conference to bring together social agencies that provide services to the community.”