Life&Style Writer Abi Bacon discusses the practical restrictions that domestic abuse victims might face, and highlights a new Women’s Aid initiative which can help remedy these issues

Written by Abi Bacon
Third Year English Literature Student & lover of books
Images by Richard Sagredo

In a new initiative set up by the domestic violence charity Women’s Aid, victims of domestic abuse will be provided with free transport tickets in order to help them escape abusive situations and take refuge in protected accommodation. Victims escaping abuse are often advised to seek shelter away from their perpetrator, but for many women, fleeing can often be made more difficult by high transport costs in the UK. Further, economic abuse, whereby victims are under the financial control or their abuser, makes escapism increasingly more challenging.

Domestic abuse will affect one in four women throughout their lifetime

Although data regarding domestic abuse is often unreliable, LWA (Living Without Abuse) reports that domestic abuse will affect one in four women throughout their lifetime. Additionally, in the most recent report conducted by the CSEW (Crime Survey of England and Wales), it is estimated that only 18% of women who experienced abuse from their partner in the previous 12 months reported the incident(s) to the police. Statistics such as these demonstrate not only the frequency of domestic abuse against women, but more worryingly reveal an alarming reality about the lack of response abuse provokes. It is, therefore, necessary to ask: how can escaping domestic violence be made easier for victims?

“The railway is much more than trains and rail track; it is about supporting the communities that it serves”

Working alongside Women’s Aid and Imkaan (a charity to dedicated to addressing violence against black and minority women and girls), Women’s Aid have partnered with two major rail networks; Southeastern and Great Western Railway, in order to launch the scheme. The idea was first proposed by Southeastern station warden Darren O’Brien, who became aware of the issue after watching Channel 4’s documentary on Women’s Aid. If a victim has secured a safe place of refuge accessible via Southeastern or Great Western Railway routes, they will be able to claim an e-ticket from either company in order to cover the costs of their journey to safety.

Adina Claire, the CEO of Women’s Aid, recently announced that the charity is ‘delighted to launch the 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.’ The Great Western Railway director Joe Graham added that ‘the railway is much more than trains and rail track; it is about supporting the communities that it serves.’ With two major railways already onboard, Adina Claire urges other train operators follow suit and join the scheme, which loudly broadcasts the unfaltering message that domestic abuse is everybody’s business.

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, the following organisations can be contacted for guidance and support: or email 

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