Purple benches, honouring victims of domestic homicide, are appearing in parks and outside community centres. The Purple Bench Project is an initative of the Womens Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services. WCDFVS represents 64 refuges and family violence services in Western Australia.
In a Purple Benchmark by the Western Independent, Ms Oppermann, CEO of Zonta House Refuge said the presence of a purple bench invited people to commemorate those who had lost their lives to family and domestic violence while raising awareness.
“It is about having a place to pay respects, but also to recognise the significance of the number of women and children and men who die because of family and domestic violence every year,” she said.
Domestic Violence Legal Clinic founder at Mossessons Lawyers Shirley McMurdo said the presence of the benches in parks was an important step to increasing community awareness on the issue.
“When people are in a park and they notice a purple bench, they will be curious to know what it’s all about and they will then understand that it actually is a way of highlighting domestic violence as a current issue,” she said.
“The colour purple is well known as the colour that actually represents domestic violence.”
Ms McMurdo said victims often sought help only after suffering a lot of abuse.
“The statistics say that women will leave their husbands seven times before they make the final decision to leave,” she said.
“The issue of domestic violence is so complex and so prevalent in today’s society that the government can always do much more.”
Ms Oppermann said Zonta House Refuge had a future employment connections program and worked with women exiting prison because a high number of them had experienced family and domestic violence.
Zonta says NO to violence against women.