Over a dozen brightly coloured benches will be installed across WA in an initiative to raise awareness to one of WA’s biggest health and welfare issue – domestic violence.
Made possible in part by a micro-grant from Nedlands-based Linkwest, the not-for-profit peak body which represents over 150 regional, remote, and metropolitan Neighbourhood and Community Resource Centres in WA.
The purple benches will be installed outside local Centres to provide a highly visible symbol of the issue of partner violence. They will also include a plaque detailing a support helpline for victims.
CEO of Linkwest Jane Chilcott explains that Linkwest has approved 16 micro-grants to members this year in honour of the 16 Days in WA campaign, a ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ campaign which runs from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to 10 December, which is Human Rights Day.
“We first heard about the initiative after it was launched in Canada back in 2015, where purple benches were installed in public parks to honour the memory of women murdered by their partner and to provide help numbers for people in need,” explains Ms Chilcott.
“When we heard about the initiative from one of our regional member Centres which had transformed an old park bench into a symbolic purple bench, we thought it would be very powerful if there could eventually be one outside all of our Centres across the State
purple benches were installed in public parks to honour the memory of women murdered by their partner and to provide help numbers for people in need
“We feel that the initiative provides a permanent reminder that domestic and family violence exists in all communities and every West Australian has a responsibility to recognise and respond appropriately to this devastating issue in our community.
This year, 16 Centres have been allocated grants to assist in the placement of a purple bench in their community. In total, Linkwest has assisted 32 Centres across the State erect similar benches over the two years it has been involved with the initiative.
“As an organisation, we stand in solidarity with the survivors, those lost and those who are still doing what they can to keep themselves and their children safe in a home where domestic violence is an ongoing threat,” adds Ms Chilcott.
For assistance or advice call the Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline on 1800 007 339 or 9223 1188 or, in emergency situations, call Police on 000.