National domestic and family violence support organisation, RizeUp Australia, recently commemorated Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month by partnering with the Red Rose Foundation on the Red Bench Project, unveiling a red bench at Helensvale Library and Cultural Centre in May.
The Red Bench Project, an initiative by the Red Rose Foundation, aims to raise public awareness of domestic and family violence and start an important dialogue about domestic violence in local communities.
RizeUp founder and CEO, Nicolle Edwards said the bench is a symbolic permanent reminder that domestic and family violence occurs within all communities and it is unfortunately a very harsh reality for many families on the Gold Coast.
“This bench is a place for locals to visit and reflect on how we can change as a community and continue the conversation on putting an end to domestic violence,” she said.
Gold Coast Division 2 Councillor William Owen-Jones said he hoped the bold red bench, installed in one of Helensvale’s busiest community areas, would serve as a strong reminder that there is zero tolerance for domestic and family violence.
“This red bench is a powerful, visual reminder that we, as a community, must work together to raise much-needed awareness of the impact domestic and family violence has on so many lives and to begin calling out abusive behaviour in our families, neighbourhoods and broader communities,” said Cr Owen-Jones.
“I’m proud to work with RizeUp and Red Rose Foundation to have this red bench installed in Helensvale and I have no doubt that it will spark much-needed conversation among the community,” he said.
Across Australia, close to 240 red benches have been installed since 2019, with local governments and a range of community groups all raising their hands to be involved.
The Helensvale red bench joins the Gold Coast’s only other red bench install, located in Mudgeeraba.
The Red Rose Foundation works to end domestic and family violence-related deaths in Australia including homicide, suicide and accidental deaths that arise from incidents and/or histories of domestic violence.
RizeUp supports affected families with a range of programs that enable women and children to safely escape the traumas of domestic and family violence. Founded in 2015, the organisation has rapidly grown across Queensland and New South Wales, and now Melbourne, as has worked hard to meet the ever-growing need.
To find out more about RizeUp or to sign up as a volunteer, visit rizeup.com.au/volunteer.