The Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service has installed a number of red benches across the region to symbolise a stronger stance against domestic and family violence (DFV).
The Red Bench Project is an initiative of the Red Rose Foundation, which works towards ending domestic violence related deaths in Australia.
Coinciding with Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, the installation of the benches is designed to act as a visible and permanent reminder that domestic violence occurs in all communities.
Red benches have been installed at a number of locations across the Wide Bay, including at the Childers Multipurpose Health Service and Gin Gin Hospital.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chair Peta Jamieson said the region-wide initiative followed the installation of a bench at Bundaberg Hospital’s healing garden in October last year.
“Board members and I, along with Chief Executive Debbie Carroll and fellow WBHHS executive, felt it important to shine a visible spotlight on DFV across all our facilities and ensure victims were never afraid or ashamed to seek help,” Ms Jamieson said.
“Sadly, we too often have people presenting to our hospitals and emergency departments after experiencing domestic and family violence and abuse.
“We want the red benches to prompt discussion, to encourage people in the community to speak out against DFV and to let victims know they are not alone and to feel confident in reporting.
Red benches part of DFV campaign
WBHHS Chief Executive Debbie Carroll said the red bench was symbolic of WBHHS’s commitment to creating a safe workplace and building its workforce capacity to reduce the severe immediate and long-term health impacts for people subjected to domestic and family violence.
“As part of a statewide health strategy, we appointed a DFV workforce specialist last year to deliver training to frontline health workers and clinicians over three years,” Ms Carroll said.
“The health service is often a first point of contact for individuals who have experienced DFV so it’s important we train and support our staff to respond appropriately in their role as a healthcare provider.
“Training aims to increase healthcare workers’ knowledge and skills to recognise DFV and provide an early supportive response using local referral pathways and guidelines.
“Our staff can provide early, safe and appropriate response to disclosures of DFV and referral pathways to specialist domestic violence services.”
Red Rose Foundation Chief Executive Officer and Founder Betty Taylor said Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month was an important opportunity to put domestic violence in the spotlight.
“Violence destroys the lives of individuals, shatters families and places a heavy burden on community resources,” Ms Taylor said.
“With these new red benches, we invite the Wide Bay community to sit and have a conversation on how we, as a community, can ‘change the ending’.”
The Red Rose Foundation undertakes its objectives through an integrated program portfolio of victim support, training and education, raising community awareness and advocacy.
The community can support the Red Rose Foundation and its important work at www.redrosefoundation.com.au.