Red Benches part of campaign to stop domestic violence

A red bench today was unveiled near Toowoomba’s family violence memorial sculpture at Clewley Park as another visual reminder in the campaign to stop all forms of domestic violence.

Toowoomba Together and the Red Rose Foundation joined Toowoomba Regional Council, Soroptimist International (Toowoomba), Zonta, CWA, Inner Wheel, Queensland Police Service and other community support agencies and community members for the reflective White Ribbon Day Service at Clewley Park, off Water Street.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the bold red benches that would appear across the region conveyed a simple, yet powerful message.

“Red means stop, especially putting a stop to all forms of violence,” Mayor Antonio said.

“Red might have other connotations, but it definitely has a universal meaning of stop.

“The Toowoomba community, others across our region and around the nation today re-affirm their strong commitment to calling out and stopping all violence, especially violence against women and children.

“I’m pleased to see Council and other organisations supporting the Red Rose Foundation’s campaign to paint benches red as a way of raising awareness about domestic and family violence.

“A red bench is a permanent visual reminder that we all must work to change the ending and call out abusivebehaviour in our families, neighbourhoods and broader communities.”

With the simple message,’Change the ending: let’s stop domestic violence’, it is hoped the red benches will inspire conversations about domestic violence.

Across eastern Australia, close to 100 red benches are expected to be in place before Christmas, with local governments, state governments and a range of community groups all putting up their hands up to be involved.

Other benches in the Toowoomba Region will be at Webb Park in East Toowoomba, Mervyn and John Hart Park in Pittsworth, the Main Street in Oakey and near the Post Office at Yarraman.

Mayor Antonio said he was heartened to see Clifford Gardens Shopping Centre, Fairholme College, the Toowoomba Mosque and Harristown State High School all signing up to paint a bench red.

“I’m proud to lead this campaign on behalf of the Red Rose Foundation and have now asked other businesses and community groups to get on board,” Mayor Antonio said.

“While other Local Government areas have already supported the initiative, 16 benches would see Toowoomba leading the charge on this important issue.We would love nine other red benches to pop up across the region during November and December.

“Our two local Zonta groups and theSoroptimist International Toowoomba group have worked to support the initiative, with the Soroptimist group also working with CWA and Inner Wheel groups on a range of activities for 16 days.”

Today also marks the start of the United Nation’s 16 days of activism against violence.

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