KPU instructor Dr. Balbir Kaur Gurm receives YWCA Women of Distinction Award

KWANTLEN Polytechnic University instructor and Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) founder Dr. Balbir Kaur Gurm received two awards at the 2021 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.

She was named the Community Champion and received the Connecting the Community award.

“I am honoured and humbled to have my community work recognized by the selection team,” said Gurm.

“I have worked on equity and oppression issues most of my adult life and have focused more specifically on relationship violence in the last decade or so. The YWCA does important work in this area and other women’s issues also.

“Getting recognized by an organization like the YWCA for my efforts towards eliminating violence allows me to amplify my voice and speak up for those who are not privileged enough to be heard, and also allows me to create the space for victims and survivors to tell their stories.”

Currently, Gurm’s work at NEVR, which is hosted at KPU, includes gathering feedback on changes needed to the family and criminal court systems. NEVR also recently presented a petition to the federal government to create a national gender-based violence plan.

Gurm is also the co-investigator on a study looking into the long-term effects of strangulation injuries on women’s health.

To help combat the relationship violence, especially during the COVID -19 pandemic, Gurm and her team launched an e-book last year called Making Sense of a Global Pandemic: Relationship Violence & Working Together Towards a Violence Free Society.

“I hope to continue to work with all community partners on this very important issue with even more momentum than ever before. There is still a lot more work to be done,” said Gurm.

The YWCA citation reads:

Community Champion and Connecting the Community Award
Balbir Kaur Gurm

Balbir Kaur is the Founder and Chair of Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR), and a Professor Faculty of Health, Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Dr. Gurm started the grassroots, interdisciplinary group in 2011 and has grown to more than 200 members from more than 100 participating organizations, groups and individual members. Dr. Gurm’s book Making Sense of a Global Pandemic: Relationship Violence and Working Together Towards a Violence Free Society was published in 2020 and includes multiple perspectives and resources to provide a comprehensive overview of relationship violence. It serves as an online platform and living resource. As a Nursing Professor, Dr. Gurm is a role model for nursing students. She introduces the concepts of violence being a community issue and facilitates nursing students to participate in community activities within their classes.