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Benchmark for safety

Daniel Bouwmeester    February 10, 2023    3 min read   
Unveiling the plaque outside Orion Springfield Central, a united group of women take a clear stand against domestic violence. Images: Charis Mullen MP.

A bold reminder of a profound cause now sits permanently outside Orion shopping centre, thanks to the efforts of a group of dedicated local women.

On November 25, Betty Taylor of the domestic and family violence (DFV) awareness charity Red Rose Foundation met with fellow passionate advocates to unveil a new public bench near the playground at Orion Springfield Central.

Part of the ‘Red Bench Project’, the brightly coloured benches are designed to be highly visible reminders of incidents of DFV, which the Red Rose Foundation says are largely preventable.

“Tragically, many of these domestic violence related deaths have many predictive elements,” the group says on its website.

Jordan MP Charis Mullen, VM Family Law’s Kath Manby, and a representative from Mirvac, Orion’s developer, were among the attendees.

Ms Mullen reflected on her long-term commitment to tackle the issue.

“As the Member for Jordan, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by how much we have to do to end domestic and family violence in our local community,” she said.

“And then I’m reminded that the smallest of steps helps. Today, we took another step with the launch of the Red Bench at Orion Springfield Central.”

“This bench is just the start of the conversation. It’s how we end the violence that matters,” Ms Mullen noted, echoing Red Rose Foundation’s motto, ‘Change the ending’ – which is inscribed on a plaque fixed to the bench.

Since its inception in 2019, the foundation has installed more than 300 benches across Australia, with government and community support.

At a similar unveiling ceremony in Ipswich in late November, Division 4 Councillor Kate Kunzelmann said it was “more than a bench.”

“It is a clear sign of our city’s unity and commitment in bringing an end to domestic and family violence,” Cr Kunzelmann, who is also a member of women’s rights group Zonta International, said.

“An important step in achieving this goal is to raise awareness and community education of domestic and family violence and send a clear message that it is never justified and must stop.”

One in every six Australian women has reported experiencing physical and/or sexual family and domestic violence since the age of 15, according to the 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS) by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

If you or someone you know needs help with DFV, contact the Domestic Violence Action Centre on 1800 737 732. For more information, visit redrosefoundation.com.au. In an emergency, call 000.

Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.