Barbara Baillie was murdered 29 years ago by her husband in Canada. She inspired the Purple Bench movement which will soon be in Australia in the form of the Red Bench project.
Barbara Baillie was murdered 29 years ago by her husband in Canada. She inspired the Purple Bench movement which will soon be in Australia in the form of the Red Bench project.

Red domestic violence seats inspired by murder victim

BARBARA Baillie was murdered 29 years ago by her husband in Canada.

One of 50,000 women killed each year around the globe by their current or former partners, Barbara would be remembered today by only her family and friends but for an innovative project.

On the 25th anniversary of Barbara's death, her five children created a simple memorial for their mother - a bench in downtown Spryfield.

Overlooking a picturesque lake, the bench is painted a bright purple and it carries a plaque bearing her name.

"Although we lost our mom, now her death has a meaning," Barb's daughter Denenia Dobbin said of the bench, which was revealed in October of 2015.

"It's therapeutic because when we see the bench we know Mom's words are there and people know she died at the hands of her husband.

"This is real. This can happen. She has a voice. She didn't die in vain."

Barb's bench inspired the worldwide purple bench movement and last year, many of these were installed in West Australian locations by various organisations.

Now, Queensland's Red Rose Foundation has its own version of the innovative project under way.

RRF will unveil its Red Bench Project at a special event outside Cleveland Library in Redland City at 10am on Wednesday, May 15.

The Foundation has asked every council in Queensland to come on board and as well as Redland, it has approval to roll out the project in Brisbane City and Logan.

The Tablelands is the only regional council in Queensland to have thrown its support behind the project but Red Rose hopes other local governments will step up to the plate over the year.

Red Rose CEO Betty Taylor said the organisation hoped to install red domestic violence benches across the nation after it had done so in Queensland.

While the red benches will not be dedicated to individual murder victims, they will carry a plaquereading:  "Domestic violence - let's change the ending".

Ms Taylor said her organisation had reached out to all Queensland councils and the response was positive.

She said the cost to each council was minimal, with the LGAs required to only paint an existing bench red and to install the plaque.

"We are hoping the benches will keep domestic violence visible in the general community," Ms Taylor told NewsRegional.

Red Rose works to end domestic violence and provides specialised support for women and children who have been strangled or choked by their abusers.

It also holds red rose rallies when a person is killed by a partner, former partner or family member.

More information on the Red Bench Project is available at facebook.com/events/1751611954984394

- NewsRegional

*For 24-hour domestic violence support  call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

News Corp Australia


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