A conference to raise awareness of domestic violence was held at Cadbury Sixth Form College by Ashram Housing Association

In a bid to raise awareness of domestic violence and encourage our students to gain new insights into what young people may be experiencing at home, Cadbury Sixth Form College hosted a conference by Ashram Housing Association as part of The Accord Group.

The “Celebrating Success” conference, which was held on Friday April 24th 2015 in Cadbury College’s Bob Michel Performance Theatre, explored issues including forced marriage, honour-based violence and domestic abuse.

High-profile speakers at the event included Ashram Housing Association’s Children and Families Service Manager, Sahdaish Pall and Suzanne Virdee, once a television journalist for ITV Central and BBC News and now a freelance journalist.

Sahdaish discussed the campaigning efforts of the Association to raise awareness and highlight the importance of these important and prevalent issues; they broadcast radio commercials, social media campaigns and even filmography such as “Land, Gold, Women”, released in 2011 and set right here in Birmingham.

During her talk about how society can support the Association’s activities, Pall said, “We all have the power to make a difference in this world.  We just have to want to do it!”

“A ‘one-size-fits all’ response to these sensitive, complex and challenging issues is not going to resolve the problem, but each activity that we contribute towards helps to educate people from all ages and backgrounds about a concern that is increasingly worrying”, she continued.

Since 2004, Ashram has dealt with almost 700 cases of forced marriage in the Midlands alone, and a further 450 cases of so-called ‘honour crime’. Many hundreds more cases go unreported.

The conference combined discussions and talks from high profile speakers with video clips and snapshots to bring the words to life before the eyes of the audience.

Speaking about her new publication, “A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Being Fabulous”, Suzanne Virdee expressed her concern that domestic violence affects people from all racial and employment backgrounds, from all age-groups and different sexes.

She continued to say, “domestic violence prevents young people from concentrating on growing up and studying effectively, which in turn can negatively impact their progression to employment and adulthood”, highlighting the importance of tackling these issues and raising awareness sensitively but effectively.

After the conference, representatives of the Ashram Housing Association set up stalls to discuss issues further with attendees of the conference.  They were able to provide advice and insights, alongside helpful information guides and leaflets.

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