Purple benches to memorialise and aid victims of domestic and family violence

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


In Australia from July 2019 to 30 June 2020, 36 women and 10 men were killed by an intimate partner, and 86 people altogether were victims of domestic homicide (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2023). To memorialise such victims, help those who are suffering from this violence, educate the public, and enact change, women’s groups in countries around the world including Australia have installed purple benches in public spaces that include plaques with contact information for getting help. Some groups hold memorials for victims at these benches. In 2015 in Nova Scotia, Canada, the first purple bench was installed by the daughter of Barbara Baillie whose husband had murdered her 25 years earlier. Across Australia, more than 100 benches are installed. The aim of this research is to understand how the benches work to achieve the goals of memorialising the dead, assisting the living, educating the public, and enacting change. The research builds upon Goodnow’s (2021) proposed theory of collective mourning, which relies on Aristotle’s epideictic and deliberative rhetoric. Research consists of a content analysis of Australian news reports about the benches and interviews with women’s groups and government members involved with installing the benches and attending memorials.
Period23 Nov 2023
Event titleAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) Conference 2023: Ka mua, ka muri: Bridging Communication Pasts and Futures
Event typeConference
LocationWellington, New ZealandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational