Updated 23rd November 2020. It has been announced that the Rail to refuge scheme has been extended until the end of March 2021. Source: TransportExtra.
How Rail to refuge in Worthing and Sussex can help you
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Rail to refuge for women and men
Rail to refuge lets women and men travel by rail for free to a refuge, as long as they have a confirmed refuge space organised by Women’s Aid. The service is available in England, Scotland and Wales.
According to the Women’s Aid website Rail to refuge FAQ page (accessed by us on 19th August 2020), the scheme which started in April 2020, is still operational.
If you need Rail to refuge help in England, please go to the Women’s Aid Rail to refuge FAQ page for details of how the scheme works and instructions on how to access this help.
Mankind Initiative – Train to Safety for Men
Mankind Initiative run a very similar scheme called Train to Safety, specifically for men.
If you are a man and need this help, you can also visit the Mankind Initiative Train to Safety web page for details of how you can access Train to Safety.
Rail to refuge / Train to Safety – Poorly publicised services?
As we can see, information about this service seems fragmented by being spread over multiple web sources. There is no single web source that we can find that brings all providers, onto one web information page. This page is our attempt to remedy this.
Rail to refuge is a vital service and some men and possibly women also, are unlikely to know of its existence. Women’s Aid, the charity that can let you access the free rail travel service may not be the first port of call for male victims of domestic abuse.
Researching this subject via the internet (including Facebook and Twitter) leads to various sources dated mostly to the very beginning of lockdown. Many victims of domestic violence may wonder if the service is still available, now that some areas are coming out of lockdown.
There are a few news posts by various rail operators that tell you which rail operators offer the scheme.
Govia’s news article from 9th of April 2020 tells you that their subsidiaries Southern and Thameslink (who run train services through the Worthing area), are in the scheme.
View the press realse on Govia’s website
How about GWR who run a small number of train services through Worthing? They are in the scheme too but you have to visit their website news article dated 4th of March 2020 to find out.
View the post on GWR’s website
We feel that publicity about Rail to refuge is not good and could lead to many victims not knowing about the service.
Having to access multiple internet sources to find specific information is never ideal. At a time when the need for Rail To Refuge for a vulnerable person may be critical, there may be none or limited access to the internet and quite likely less time for extensive internet searching.