Women escaping domestic abuse are usually advised to seek refuge services far away from their perpetrator, but for many women, raising the cash to pay for a train ticket can be very difficult. This is especially true for women experiencing economic abuse, who may have no access to cash.
Women’s Aid is working with Southeastern, Great Western and Southern Railway to remove this barrier and offer free train travel for women seeking refuge services. Member services of Women’s Aid, Imkaan and Welsh Women’s Aid will be able to obtain free tickets through bespoke booking services.
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, Darren O’Brien, after he watched a Dispatches documentary about Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid.
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.”