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Parklea inmates create safe house for DV campaign

Inmates at Parklea Correctional Centre have nailed it again, putting their trade skills into action by creating a wooden safe house 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.

Last year the council asked for a tea pot and two cups and saucers to be created to symbolise having a cuppa to start a conversation. This year they requested a small home made from timber to represent a safe house.

Correctional officers supervised three inmates who work in the prison’s cabinet shop to construct the house, which measures 1.5 metres by 1.2 metres and has a 600mm pitched roof and chimney.

The impressive house 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.

It 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 Paul Baker said staff and inmates were pleased the council had again invited them to be involved in this important community partnership and social awareness campaign.

“We have been involved in a number of Blacktown City Council initiatives and we recently donated wooden toys our inmates made to a council childcare centre in Blackett,” Mr Baker said.

“Our giant tea pot and teacups received fantastic feedback last year and provided an eye-catching conversation starter, while providing meaningful work for the inmates and assisting in their rehabilitation.

“This initiative provided another great opportunity to work with Blacktown City Council and for our inmates to give back to the community, while raising awareness of domestic violence in its many forms.

“Our officers who train the inmates in the cabinet shop have come up with a professional design to create a welcoming home, reminiscent of a cubby house where children play and make happy memories.

“The inmates have done a fantastic job building it and they should all feel very proud.

“We look forward to being involved in other community projects where we have the capacity and capability.”

Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, said Council was proud to partner with Parklea Correctional Centre to make a colourful public statement against domestic and family violence.

“Sadly, in Blacktown City, women and children continue to suffer at the hands of family members or current or former partners,” Mayor Bleasdale said.

“Starting a conversation around this serious issue is an important first step in putting an end to this violence, and the Knit Bomb Project is part of Council’s commitment in raising awareness of this scourge on our community.

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

Parklea Correctional Centre is operated by MTC Australia on behalf of Corrective Services NSW.