Free train travel in East Anglia for people fleeing domestic abuse
Greater Anglia, along with train companies across the country, is extending free train travel for survivors of domestic abuse for another year.
The move comes as figures show four survivors a day nationally, on average, have been using the scheme and reports show that abuse has worsened during coronavirus restrictions.
Since March 2020, when the scheme was introduced, train operators across the country have provided free tickets to 3,118 people, including 874 children. 65% of people who used Rail to Refuge to date said they would not or could not have travelled if the journey hadn’t been paid for, with an average journey for recipients costing £73.
The ‘Rail to Refuge’ scheme is a partnership between the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, and Women’s Aid Federation England, Welsh Women’s Aid, Scottish Womens’ Aid and Imkaan.
Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia’s Managing Director, said, “We’re proud to be a part of this vital scheme which is making a real difference to survivors of domestic abuse.”
Survivors are supported by Women’s Aid Members Services and when they are offered a refuge place, the service can book the ticket(s) they need, with train companies covering the cost. Tickets are also provided for their children, if required. They can be used as e-tickets on a phone or can be picked up from stations with a debit or credit card. The scheme allows survivors to board a train and travel without having to explain their situation to anyone.
Survivors of domestic abuse who would like to access the Rail to Refuge scheme, or need other support, can get in touch with Women’s Aid through their Live Chat service, open Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 6:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am – 6:00pm: https://chat.womensaid.org.uk
Greater Anglia has also made its website a ‘Safe Space’ for survivors of domestic abuse.
Online ‘Safe Spaces’ are untraceable web pages with information on specialist domestic abuse support services, national helplines and other resources developed by the charity, UK SAYS NO MORE.
The train operator has a ‘Safe Space’ widget near the bottom of its greateranglia.co.uk website which enables those experiencing domestic abuse to discreetly access support and information while carrying out daily online tasks.
The ‘Safe Space’ webpage does not appear in internet browsing history and has a quick exit function.