(December 11, 2013) – A new DVD to raise awareness on domestic violence was released at a special screening on November 26 at York Regional Police, District 5 Headquarters in Markham, Ontario.
“The project originated with a conversation between Reverend Earl Smith of the Horizon Interfaith Council and Chief Eric Jolliffe of York Regional Police,” Brenda Webb, writer-director, told IQRA. “York Region has an excellent unit dedicated to responding to domestic violence and are quite proactive in many areas – reducing crime by education and with partnerships with community organizations.”
“This project was particularly designed to encourage women to seek help and to also encourage faith leaders to be actively a part of that help,” Webb added.
The DVD is produced by the Horizon Interfaith Media Council which airs TV programs on Rogers Community Television from many religious and faith groups across the Greater Toronto Area. The aim of the Council as stated on its website is ‘to emphasize life values as addressed by religious beliefs; and promote harmony and understanding of our multi-cultural, multi-faith and multi-racial community in our interfaith programs.’
Reverend Earl Smith, Vice–Chair of Horizon Interfaith Council and Chair of the overall production of the DVD, gave the audience at the screening an overview of how the film came about.
“About three years ago, I had a conversation, first of all, with Chief Jolliffe on domestic violence crimes and he said that these are the most prevalent crimes committed of that type committed,” said Reverend Smith. “Then I met Dr. Naila Butt (of the Social Services Network) and we got connected with the family violence project and I thought why don’t we do a TV program on that through the Horizon Interfaith Council – so I brought it to the Council and we got the Ok.”
Inspector Tim Kelly of the Investigative Services Unit brought a message from Chief Jolliffe to the screening.
“Domestic violence continues to be a high priority for York Regional Police,” said Inspector Kelly. “York Regional Police is committed to community partnerships that ensures assistance to victims of domestic violence.”
“We appreciate the different stakeholders that I see around the table,” added Kelly.
The film prominently features faith leaders providing their perspectives on the domestic violence. Among those interviewed for the production were Sgt. Christina Baker, York Regional Police, Training and Education Unit; Pundit Eschwar Doobay; Reverend Earl Smith, Church of Scientology; Habeeb Alli, Chaplain and author; Dr. Naila Butt, Executive Director, Social Services Network; Fatima Omar Khamissa, author and motivational speaker; and Reverend Bishop Basil A Miller, Scarborough Church of God.
Writer-director Brenda Webb said that she felt honored to be asked to do the DVD because she likes to do projects that will make a difference.
“I think domestic abuse is one of the higher crimes because people have feelings and, unfortunately, sometimes violence and force is put into the equation as a solution and it is not a solution,” she said. “These type of programs are preventing crime.”
The DVD will be aired on Rogers Community Channel as part of Horizon Interfaith Council’s programming and will be made posted on various websites and used as a resource for bringing public awareness on the issue of domestic violence.