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Camilla backs extension of free rail travel for domestic abuse survivors

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The Duchess of Cornwall has expressed her support for the extension of the Rail to Refuge scheme, which offers free train travel for people fleeing abusive relationships.

Camilla warned in a video message how lockdown has been life-threatening for survivors of domestic violence.

The duchess, who has long campaigned against domestic abuse, urged those who need help to contact Women’s Aid for support and access to the initiative.

She said in the message: “Lockdown has been hard for everyone, but for the survivors of domestic abuse, it has been life-threatening.

“I’m delighted to hear that Britain’s train companies are extending the Rail to Refuge scheme for longer to provide free travel to a safe refuge for those fleeing domestic abuse.

“If you need help, contact Women’s Aid for support and access to the Rail to Refuge scheme.”

The free rail travel scheme has been extended for the foreseeable future after reports showed that abuse had worsened during the coronavirus restrictions.

The initiative was launched by Southeastern in September 2019 and Great Western Railway joined in March 2020.

All of Britain’s train operators formed a partnership with the charity Women’s Aid to join the programme on April 9 last year.

It was initially set to last for 12 weeks, but was extended until the end of March 2021, and has now been extended further, with no set end date.

Camilla’s message was being shared by the Rail Delivery Group.

Survivors of domestic abuse who would like to access the scheme, or need other support, can get in touch with Women’s Aid through its Live Chat service, open Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am–12pm: https://chat.womensaid.org.uk

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