In a stark and ongoing reminder that domestic and family violence is an unwelcome scourge in our community, Sunshine Coast Council has installed and unveiled four bright red benches across the region.
The Red Bench project is the brainchild of not-for-profit charity the Red Rose Foundation, which started the campaign in the hope that the benches will raise public awareness and provide an opportunity to remind people of the unacceptable presence of domestic and family violence in communities.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said council had installed four red benches located at Nambour, Alexandra Headland, Caloundra and Maleny.
“Each bench delivers a simple message on a plaque; ‘Change the ending: let’s stop domestic violence,'” Mayor Jamieson said.
“I sincerely hope these benches not only provide comfort for many passers-by, but also spark questions, conversations and reflection to help us to eradicate the occurrence of domestic and family violence.
“There is no room for domestic and family violence in our society.
“It has to stop and every single one of us can take responsibility for our own actions and lead by example.”
Red Rose Foundation Chief Executive Betty Taylor said she was pleased to see Sunshine Coast Council join other local government areas in proudly displaying the red benches.
“Our goal is for every single local government in Australia to have a red bench in their community,” Ms Taylor said.
“Everyone in the community has a responsibility to play a role in raising awareness against domestic and family violence.
“We truly hope these benches make a difference to others, as one death from domestic and family violence is one too many.”
Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said he hoped the Red Bench project inspired others within the community to create their own red benches to increase the awareness of domestic and family violence.
“Coolum is a fine example of paving the way, with the Coolum Red Bench an initiative between local artists Jacque Sanderson and John Fuller, plus local solicitor Ray Barber,” Cr Law said.
“It’s terrific when the community comes together for such an important cause.
“Domestic and family violence is a key focus area in our Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041, which council is committed to addressing through partnership, collaboration, advocacy and direct action.”
Ms Sanderson said she was humbled to work on the Coolum community-led project.
“The seats are intentionally positioned towards the public to provide aesthetic amenity to the community,” Ms Sanderson said.
“This is art for all who walk in the vicinity, not just the patron.
“It’s for the public to embrace as a place for rest, meeting or exchange,” Ms Sanderson said.