The importance of an ongoing conversation in putting an end to domestic violence cannot be underestimated.
That is indeed the idea behind the Red Bench project, an inspired initiative of the Red Rose Foundation to prompt conversations about domestic and family violence.
As domestic and family violence prevention month draws to a close, Centacare has unveiled Brisbane CBD’s first Red Bench on the grounds of St Stephen’s Cathedral in Elizabeth Street.
Last year, Centacare supported more than 20,000 women and children experiencing domestic and family violence. Centacare General Manager Anick de Réland facilitated the unveiling of the Red Bench, which included a blessing by Dean of the Cathedral Fr Anthony Mellor.
“To me, the Red Bench symbolises a safe space where a conversation can be had about domestic violence,” said Ms de Réland.
“It could be two relatives, friends, colleagues or even two strangers sitting side by side and starting a conversation, prompted by the inscription on the plaque, about domestic violence – how it presents, the impact on individuals and families and what each of us can do to help address the issue.
“The Red Bench, through its vibrant colour, cannot be overlooked, just as domestic violence cannot and should not be overlooked.”
Red Rose Foundation CEO Betty Taylor launched the Red Bench project in 2019 to build a permanent reminder that domestic violence occurs within all communities. There are now 400 red benches in place across Australia, each fitted with a plaque reading ‘Domestic Violence: Lets Change the Ending”.
Speaking at the blessing, Ms Taylor said the Foundation was especially concerned by the high number of domestic violence related deaths that occur each year, both through homicide and suicide.
“We acknowledge that tragically, many of these domestic violence related deaths have many predictive elements and are largely considered preventable.” she said.
“The presence of a Red Bench in the CBD aims to raise awareness and provide an opportunity for this important issue to remain visible. It’s a place to sit and have a conversation about how we, as community, can influence the ending to domestic violence.”