Purple benches to be installed throughout Perth to commemorate domestic violence victims

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk with Angela Hartwig – CEO of the Women’s Council.
Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk with Angela Hartwig – CEO of the Women’s Council.

PURPLE benches will be installed in Perth parks to commemorate victims of domestic and family violence who were murdered by their partners.

The Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services of WA launched the initiative last week, based on a similar campaign in Canada, ahead of International Women’s Day.

The first bench was unveiled on March 7 near Fremantle Town Hall, with others to be installed in coming months within the cities of Perth and South Perth.

Purple was chosen in line with the worldwide domestic violence awareness movement.

Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services policy officer Kedy Kristal said the benches would display help numbers for people experiencing domestic and family violence.

Other Perth areas expected to install similar benches are Vincent, Armadale, Rockingham and Stirling.

The international initiative was called Barb’s Benches, with the original bench installed in Nova Scotia three years ago, marking the 25-year anniversary of the murder of Barb Baillie by her husband.

Ms Kristal said the benches could honour individual victims or be a general visual reminder of the issue and encouraged councils, refuges and domestic violence services across WA to get involved with the campaign.

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk said lots still needed to be done in WA to reduce family violence.

Ms McGurk said the government has policies designed to stop the violence at its source.

“We want to fund two refuges – one in the metro area and one in a regional location,” she said.

“In the budget we have $1.6 million set away for specific and appropriate responses for Aboriginal communities.

“In addition, we want to provide services for migrant or non-English speaking women.

“This money has been allocated in the budget but will take time to implement and plan for these changes.”

Ms McGurk said she wanted to continue the push for awareness in the community.

“The #MeToo movement has spread around Australia and internationally,” she said.

“It has provided great exposure as part of the conversation regarding disrespectful behaviour towards women.”

MORE: Man charged after fire rips through bushland south of Perth

MORE: Police hunt two men who terrorised northern suburb on weekend

MORE: State Govt to unveil new aged care working group to fast-track developments