Rail to Refuge founder hopes to increase scheme to ferries and buses

A rail employee who has helped 1000’s of home violence victims take free trains to security is hoping to increase the scheme to different modes of public transport.

Throughout the first coronavirus lockdown, Darren O’Brien, a retail methods supervisor at Southeastern, launched the Rail to Refuge initiative which permits victims to entry a free prepare ticket to protected havens.

His employer supported the preliminary enterprise, and over the past two years it has been rolled out nationwide with the assistance of Ladies’s Support and Rail Supply Group operators.

The scheme has been utilized by 3,118 survivors, together with 874 youngsters – on common serving to 4 victims attain security every day.

Darren O’Brien, who established a approach for home abuse victims to entry free prepare journeys to security (Darren O’Brien/PA)

(PA Media)

Mr O’Brien stated he hopes to assist extra survivors by enlisting bus, ferry, and tram operators to the scheme.

Talking to the PA information company, the Dublin-born supervisor, who now lives in Essex, stated: “I’m conscious of individuals in rural areas, and the way troublesome it’s for them in the event that they’re counting on a ferry.

“These folks usually endure monetary abuse as a result of they don’t have entry to cash and the way do they escape? What occurs then?

“It’s about folks coming collectively and displaying that sense of group and overcoming these obstacles.”

Mr O’Brien stated that listening to the story of a just about penniless pregnant sufferer, who he referred to as Carolyn, motivated him to consider making the scheme extra accessible.

He stated: “She informed me in nice element of the abuse that she suffered.

“I used to be impressed by her and amazed by her bravery to inform a whole stranger – who was a person – given her struggling by the hands of a person.

“She was in a position to escape on account of Rail to Refuge and having that free journey there, as a result of she had lower than £10 in her pocket on the time so wouldn’t have been in a position to make the journey to a protected place.



It’s life altering, and in some situations it’s life saving

Darren O’Brien, Rail to Refuge

“That obtained me fascinated about whether or not there was the rest that we might do.

“Not all people makes use of the trains to get to a spot of security.

“If anyone out there’s in an identical place to what I used to be – in an organization prepared to assist out – attain out and tell us.

“It’s life altering, and in some situations it’s life saving.

“Carolyn stated that if she had stayed at dwelling, she could be useless.”

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of people that used Rail to Refuge stated they might not have travelled if the journey had not been free, based on Ladies’s Support.

Darren O’Brien (Southeastern/PA).

Mr O’Brien stated that with the charity’s assist, he’s hoping to enchantment to others within the transport business and the Authorities.

He informed PA that the scheme has had wider societal advantages by “taking folks away from hospitals, taking folks away from being murdered, and saving youngsters from harmful households”.

“That ripple impact in society, the little sum of money that the Authorities might put in to organising these schemes pays dividends in the long term,” he stated.

“However the politics of what goes on and who makes these choices, it’s not for me to make that call, that’s for them, and they should look deep inside themselves to ask if they will make this occur.

“Home abuse shouldn’t be one thing that’s going away – it’s been in society for many years.”



We all know that home abuse regularly means no or restricted entry to cash, and Rail to Refuge instantly addresses this, bringing survivors to a spot of security

Teresa Parker, Ladies’s Support

Teresa Parker, from Ladies’s Support, stated the charity helps an enlargement of the scheme.

She stated: “We all know that home abuse regularly means no or restricted entry to cash, and Rail to Refuge instantly addresses this, bringing survivors to a spot of security.

“We’re delighted that prepare firms have labored with us to take away such a big monetary barrier to escaping abuse, and warmly welcome the continuation of the scheme with different firms who present different types of transport, to assist as many survivors as potential.

“It’s a lifeline for individuals who would in any other case be unable to journey.

“We thank Darren for every part he has accomplished for survivors of abuse alongside the entire companions who make Rail to Refuge potential, his actions after watching a documentary about life in a refuge has helped to make an enormous distinction to the lives of so many.”

Ladies’s Support offers a stay chat and recommendation at womensaid.org.uk, or electronic mail helpline@womensaid.org.uk

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