Women fleeing domestic abuse can now apply for free train travel to refuge accommodation, as part of a new ‘rail to refuge’ scheme launched by charity Women’s Aid.
The scheme, supported by Southeastern and Great Western Railway, is designed to help women who are usually advised to seek refuge services away from their perpetrator but struggle to raise money to pay for travel.
Women’s Aid is removing the barrier, by offering free rail travel for women seeking refuge services. Tickets will be able to be obtained through bespoke services within the Southeastern and Great Wester Railway networks.
The ‘rail to refuge’ scheme was first introduced by Southeastern in 2019 and has already helped a number of women to escape domestic abuse. The initiative was proposed by one of the train operator’s station managers after watching a documentary about Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid.
Adina Claire, Acting co-Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said: “We’re delighted to launch the ‘rail to refuge’ scheme to support women fleeing domestic abuse. Access to cash is a major barrier for women escaping an abusive partner, and free train travel will be one less thing for these women to worry about at a time of acute crisis.
“I’d like to thank Great Western Railway and Southeastern for supporting this initiative, and encourage other rail companies to contact Women’s Aid if they’d like to join the scheme and help us support women fleeing domestic abuse.”
GWR Business Assurance Director Joe Graham said: “The railway is much more than trains and rail track; it is about supporting the communities that it serves.
“Many of those trapped are unable to flee from their abusers because they have no means by which to do so. Now, with what is such a simple idea, we are able to help provide that means.”
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