Ride to Refuge - free bus travel for survivors of domestic abuse
National Express West Midlands is giving free bus tickets to survivors fleeing domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic.
The bus company is working with Women’s Aid organisations across the West Midlands to help people escaping abusive relationships by getting them to a safe refuge. The Ride to Refuge scheme is modelled on the train operators’ Rail to Refuge scheme, which has helped over a thousand people since March 2020.
Sally Dennis of Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid said:
“We are so pleased to be working alongside National Express to support women and children escaping domestic abuse with free travel to refuge. Abusers use financial control to stop women being able to leave and seek support, forcing women and children to flee with very few possessions and little if any money. Not having to worry about finding travel costs is one less barrier to women and children finding safety.”
Popinder Kaur, CEO of The Haven Wolverhampton, said:
“The support National Express West Midlands are putting in place for survivors of domestic abuse is invaluable and we’re delighted to be working with them on the Ride to Refuge scheme. There are so many barriers to a woman being able to flee safely and it can’t be underestimated what a positive impact this scheme is going to have.”
Any woman seeking support around experiences of domestic abuse, including the Ride to Refuge scheme, can contact:
Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid - 0808 800 0028
The Haven Wolverhampton - 08000 194 400
In an emergency, always call 999.
The number of survivors of domestic abuse asking for help has soared during the pandemic. Women’s Aid reported a 41% increase in users visiting its instant messaging Live Chat site within the first two weeks of lockdown in March last year. And a recent Women’s Aid survey shows 61% of survivors living with their abuser reported that abuse worsened from March to June 2020 while the country was under tighter coronavirus restrictions.