Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio has thrown his support behind a new Queensland initiative to raise awareness about domestic and family violence.
When asked if he would consider painting one of the region's park benches red, as part of the foundation's Red Bench campaign, the Mayor went one better, declaring he would work to see 16 red benches materialise across the region to mark the UN's 16 days of activism against violence.
"This is a simple but powerful step we can take as a community to raise awareness about domestic and family violence and the impact it has on so many lives," Mayor Antonio said.
"A red bench is a permanent visual reminder that we all must work to change the ending and call out abusive behaviour in our families, neighbourhoods and broader communities."
Across Queensland there are 35 red benches with Brisbane City Council, Redlands City Council, Bundaberg Regional Council, the State Government and several community groups all signed up to the campaign.
With the simple message, ‘Change the ending: let’s stop domestic violence’, it is hoped the red benches will inspire conversations about domestic violence.
Mayor Antonio said Toowoomba Regional Council would lead the initiative locally by painting five benches across the region.
They will be located at Clewley Park, where a domestic violence awareness-raising monument was erected some years ago, as well as Webb Park in East Toowoomba, Mervyn and John Hart Park in Pittsworth, the Main Street in Oakey and near the post office at Yarraman.
"I'm proud to lead this campaign on behalf of the Red Rose Foundation and have now asked other businesses and community groups to get on board,” Mayor Antonio said.
"While other Local Government areas have already supported the initiative, 16 benches would see Toowoomba leading the charge on this important issue. We would love nine other red benches to pop up across the region during November and December.
“Clifford Gardens Shopping Centre has pledged its support after a staff member became aware of how the campaign was being rolled out in other areas.
“Our two local Zonta groups and the Soroptimist International Toowoomba group have come together to support for the initiative, with the Soroptimist group also working with CWA and Inner Wheel groups on a range of activities for 16 days.”
The first bench will be unveiled at an event run by Toowoomba Together to mark White Ribbon Day at Clewley Park on Monday, November 25.
This event starts at 8am and all are welcome to attend. This is in addition to the special White Ribbon business event Toowoomba Together is coordinating at the Toowoomba Turf Club on Friday, November 22.
If your business, school or community group would like to be involved and can unveil a red bench during the 16 days, please contact the Mayor’s Office – email@example.com
Caption: Red Rose Foundation member Andrea Frost with her daughter Camille Braithwaite (left), Soroptimist International (Toowoomba) group member Roslyn Amiss and Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio launch the Red Bench campaign at Toowoomba’s family violence memorial sculpture at Clewley Park, which will be the site for one of the new red benches.