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Parklea inmates create safe family for DV campaign

Inmates at Parklea Correctional Centre have again put their trade skills to good use, creating a family out of metal mesh to help raise awareness and promote discussion about domestic violence.

The concept, developed in partnership with Blacktown City Council as part of its annual Knit Bomb Project, uses visually vibrant statements to say “no” to family and domestic violence.

In previous years the inmates have constructed a tea pot and two cups and saucers to symbolise having a cuppa to start a conversation, as well as a tiny home from timber to represent a safe house.

This year the inmates created life-sized sculptures out of metal that resemble two parents and two children.

Correctional officers supervised six inmates who work in the prison’s metal shop to form the shapes by welding strips of metal together to create the sculptures, which measure 1.5 metres by 1.2 metres and 1.2m by 3m.

The metal family was then “knit bombed” by the talented members of the Blacktown Library Knitting Group, overseen by Blacktown City Council’s Women’s Advisory Committee, who had knitted or crocheted squares in various colours and sizes and sewn them together.

The sculptures will be on display at the Village Green until mid-December, next to Blacktown City Council Chambers. Other items, such as trees, light poles, posts, and benches around the area, have also been “knit bombed” to mark 16 days of activism against violence in November.

Governor Wayne Taylor said staff and inmates were delighted that the council had again invited them to be part of this important community partnership and social awareness campaign.

“We are proud to have been involved in a number of charitable projects with Blacktown City Council over the years. These include donating wooden toys and Indigenous artwork made by inmates to council-run childcare centres, as well as seedlings for the children to grow their own vegetables,” Mr Taylor said.

“Our giant tea pot and teacups and wooden safe house received fantastic feedback and provided eye-catching conversation starters about domestic violence, while providing meaningful work for our inmates.

“We value our partnerships with Blacktown City Council and its Mayor Tony Bleasdale has been a great supporter of our inmates and the work we do to provide education and skills to assist in their rehabilitation.

“Our officers who train the inmates in the cabinet shop and metal shop have produced impressive and professional designs each year that are positive, visual symbols of ways we can overcome domestic violence.

“It also provides inmates with an opportunity to give back to the community and they should all feel very proud.”

Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, said council was proud to continue an ongoing partnership with Parklea in making a colourful and powerful public statement against domestic and family violence.

“Our hope is that we can improve the lives of women and girls in Western Sydney. We want to build the conversation around this serious issue, and transform our city into a much safer place for women and our children,” Mayor Bleasdale said.

“Sadly, in Blacktown City, women and children continue to suffer at the hands of family members or current or former partners, and the Knit Bomb Project is part of council’s commitment in raising awareness of this scourge on our community.

“We were always delighted to have the support of Parklea inmates for the Knit Bomb Project, and I am delighted by the hard work and talent that goes into creating the pieces for display each year.”