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Red Bench Project raises awareness for domestic violence prevention

10 November 2021

Western Downs Regional Council has partnered with local community groups to shine a light on family and domestic violence, with the installation of a symbolic Red Bench in Dalby’s CBD.

Goondir Health Big Buddy Program Coordinator Charlie Thomas and students from the Big Buddy Program pose with the newly unveiled Red Bench

A brightly painted bench has been installed outside the Dalby Courthouse as part of the Red Rose Foundation’s ‘Red Bench’ initiative to draw attention to domestic and family violence that still exists in communities throughout the country.

Spokesperson for Community and Cultural Development Councillor Kaye Maguire said initiatives like the ‘Red Bench Project’ fostered important conversations in the community, and signalled Council’s support for ending domestic and family violence.

“It is an unpleasant truth that domestic and family violence occurs in every community – including our own,” Cr Maguire said.

“The painting and preparation of the Red Bench was completed by Goondir Health Service’s Big Buddy program where Big Buddy students lent their time after school and on weekends to sand, paint and decorate the Red Bench, including hand-painting an indigenous design.

“One of our strengths on the Western Downs is the way we come together to support initiatives like the Red Bench Program and make our region a better place.

 “Council is proud to be working in partnership with the Red Rose Foundation, community groups and our local Police officers to support this very important cause.”

Domestic & Family Violence Coordinator and Dalby Police Officer Sergeant Anne Johnston, has seen the effects of domestic violence first-hand and knows that there is a lot more to the issue than simply what we see in the news.

“Domestic and family violence is everybody’s business and it’s important we stand together, support victims, and send the clear message that this type of violence is not tolerated in our community,” Sgt Johnston said.

“The Red Bench Project seeks to ‘change the ending’, and in so doing, improve the lives of our children and give them a future free of violence.”

Big Buddy Coordinator Charlie Thomas said the kids were eager to be involved in the project.

“Big Buddy is open to 12 to 17 year-olds, so I think it’s important for the kids to be aware of the cause while they’re young. They were also very excited to get involved,” Ms Thomas said.

“The bench is in the busy Dalby main street, so every time the kids walk past it they are going to know that they painted it and be proud of their achievement and the message  their hard work is sending in their community.”

 The indigenous design was created and painted by the Big Buddy students with the assistance of Cultural Educator and Trainer William Haupt. The design on the bench represents a bird’s-eye view of two separate gatherings of people sitting cross-legged. The dotted line that connects the two groups depicts knowledge and communication between the two mobs. The students painted the figures different colours to show that although everyone has their own identity we can still come together to support each other as one. The handprints are an open invitation to ‘have a yarn’.

 The Red Rose Foundation aims to have a Red Bench installed in every Queensland Local Government Area.  The first Red Bench was installed in 2019 and there are now over 40 around the state.  The Dalby bench is the first in the Western Downs, with more planned to be installed in towns throughout the region in coming months.

To find out more about The Red Bench Project visit https://www.redrosefoundation.com.au/

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