London, 19 November 2021 This White Ribbon Day (25 November), Southeastern is reminding the public about its lifesaving Rail to Refuge scheme, developed by its retail and contract manager Darren O’Brien.
White Ribbon Day sees the coming together of thousands of people to act and raise awareness to prevent male violence before it starts. The initiative engages with men and boys with the aim of ending violence against women.
After watching a Dispatches documentary about Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid, Darren was similarly spurred to act. What followed was a partnership with Women’s Aid and Rail To Refuge, a scheme that helps rehabilitate and save the lives of victims of domestic abuse.
Having won the Women In Rail ‘Outstanding Contribution’ Award last month, Darren will show his support for White Ribbon Day by joining an industry webinar with spokespeople from White Ribbon Day, Women in Rail and Network Rail.
Darren O’Brien said: “We need to take a stance. Don’t be the one who closes the door. White Ribbon Day is a time to take stock, pay attention and make a stance. If you stand up for what you believe in, amazing things can happen – ‘rail to refuge’ started as a conversation between two managers and was developed and run by members of the whole team.”
Rail to Refuge initially started as a collaboration between Women’s Aid and Southeastern, offering free train travel to anyone seeking refuge services. Introduced in 2019, it was soon joined by Great Western Railway and was set up in response to the barrier that many escaping domestic abuse faced – raising the money to pay for a train ticket to flee. In 2020, all train operators in Great Britain signed up to the scheme.
By March 2021, 1,348 people, including 362 children over five were given assistance, two thirds of which would not have travelled if the journey had not been paid for.
As a timely reminder of the importance of acting against violence, Darren is available for interviews to discuss his role in developing the lifesaving Rail to Refuge scheme.