Red Bench Relay the first steps in 16 days of activism

Published: 25th November 2020

Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) staff ‘voted with their feet’ this morning, when they walked against domestic and family violence in a ‘Red Bench Relay’.  

The event marked the start of the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, and the LGAQ is encouraging all councils to take part in awareness-raising events to show their support. 

Local government is a major employer in many Queensland communities and the sector has taken a lead role in raising awareness of – and campaigning against – domestic and family violence in the state. 

LGAQ Domestic and Family Violence Project Officer Jim Boden says the Red Benches are a visible reminder that councils are committed to ‘changing the ending’ and making our communities safer.

“Local government in Queensland is right behind this work and the Red Bench Relay is a simple way to show our solidarity with people who are living with – or in danger of – domestic and family violence,” Mr Boden said. 

“We walked from the Red Bench outside our offices to Newstead House and back, in time for a fundraising breakfast. 

“There are Red Bench Relay guidelines for these events, yes, but they are pretty flexible – and not as important as having as many as possible of our councils organising something similar and showing their support.” 

Councils that have a Red Bench in their community are encouraged to go ‘out and back’ from one bench to another, while councils that don’t yet have one can stage a short (1-5 kilometre) walk in their community.  

More than 20 councils have funded and installed a total of 180 Red Benches across Queensland, with Central Highlands Regional Council the latest, last week unveiling its first Red Bench outside the Council Chambers in Emerald.  

The UN’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence from 25 November to 10 December will embrace a wide variety of activities and highlight the increase in violence against women reported during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Red Rose Foundation created the Red Bench Project as a permanent and visible reminder that domestic and family violence occurs in every community. The Foundation aims to have at least one Red Bench in each of Queensland’s 77 local government areas. Click here for details and resources.