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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

GWR provides online support for domestic abuse victims

Great Western Railway has further strengthened its support for people experiencing domestic abuse by signing up to provide vital help at the touch of button.

The train operator has joined forces with UK SAYS NO MORE and the Royal Mail to launch Online Safe Spaces – an online portal with details of support services, helplines and information.

The Safe Spaces logo can be found at the foot of every page on Great Western Railway’s website gwr.com. Users can quickly exit the site by pressing ‘escape’, leaving no sign of their browsing history.

GWR Human Resources Director, Ruth Busby, said:

“We have already demonstrated our support for people experiencing domestic abuse by launching a ‘Rail to Refuge’ scheme in conjunction with Women’s Aid.

“This opportunity to provide further assistance through our website makes absolutely perfect sense. One in four women and one in six men experience domestic abuse in their lifetime and we will do everything in our power to help them access support and get to a place of safety.”

Hestia is one of the largest providers of domestic abuse refuges in London and the South East and is the main organisation supporting victims of modern slavery in the capital. It is also the home of domestic abuse and sexual violence campaign UK SAYS NO MORE.

Hestia’s Head of Domestic Abuse Prevention, Sue Harper, said:

“Businesses have a unique role to play in breaking the silence around domestic abuse and ensuring victims can access the help and support they need. Lockdown restrictions due to Covid-19 have provided an opportunity for businesses to step up their response to domestic abuse for their staff and customers through digital platforms.

“With the launch of Online Safe Spaces, we are delighted to work with Great Western Railway to provide the first online safe space to provide a vital lifeline to victims of domestic abuse.”

Royal Mail’s Head of Corporate Responsibility & Community Investment, Frances Fay, said:

“Online Safe Spaces (OSS) has been developed to help victims of domestic abuse access vital online support if they need it. We are delighted that Great Western Railway have joined us as a partner of OSS. We hope that the portal will support affected individuals to feel confident enough to seek help.”

In March last year GWR partnered with domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid to launch a ‘Rail to Refuge’ scheme, providing free train travel across the GWR network and nationally for women or men and their families needing to get to a place of safety.

It was adopted nationally through the Rail Delivery Group in April 2020 and has since helped more than 1,300 adults and children across the UK.

Those who used the service are travelling because either their perpetrator has discovered their location, they need to leave the local area where their perpetrator is or because of a lack of refuge space in their community.

Almost two-thirds (62%) of people who used ‘Rail to Refuge’ said they would not have travelled if their journey had not been paid for.

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