DOMESTIC abuse victims can continue to seek refuge for free after National Express West Midlands and Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid extended the Ride to Refuge scheme.
The project was originally launched during the pandemic to provide free bus tickets to survivors fleeing domestic abuse.
National Express donated scratchcard daysavers to Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid (BSWA) to give to those seeking refuge going to temporary accommodation.
The announcement was made to ahead of International Women’s Day 2022 on March 8.
Kerry (not her real name) was cut off from family and friends for ten years by her controlling and violent abuser.
This caused Kerry anxiety and frequent panic attacks.
On the day she left her abuser, BSWA identified suitable accommodation for Kerry and gave her food and toiletries.
She had an appointment that day to treat her mental health and she desperately wanted to attend.
The free daysaver bus ticket meant Kerry could get to her new accommodation, and then to her appointment and back.
Sally Dennis, operations manager at Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, said: “Without exception, women have been delighted and grateful for the bus tickets.
“Firstly, it resolves one of their immediate concerns – How do I get to safety as I have no money?
“But it also gives women a real message of support and validation.
“Abusers repeatedly tell women that they are not worth anything and that no-one will believe them or care about them.
“So for National Express to care enough to think about what might be helpful in this moment of crisis is significant – practically and emotionally – for women.”