The infrastructure and justice Ministers have agreed that free travel on Translink public transport is to be provided to men and women (as well as any accompanying children) fleeing domestic abuse. This will be available for travel to emergency accommodation provided by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive or Women’s Aid as well as one follow on journey to longer term accommodation.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, male or female, young or old and of any sexual orientation. When someone is afraid, vulnerable and facing abuse within their own home, it is important that they can get to a safe place as quickly as possible. All organisations have a role to play in ensuring that those affected have access to support, advice and accommodation. In some instances individuals will have to leave their home and travel to emergency accommodation. Where private transport is not available they will now be able to access public transport for this purpose.
A range of partners are working together on the Domestic Abuse free travel scheme, including Departments of Health, Infrastructure and Justice, Translink and a number of voluntary sector partners (including the 24hr Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline, Hourglass, Men’s Advisory Project, Rainbow Project and Women’s Aid NI).
The purpose of the scheme is to ensure that victims of domestic abuse do not have to worry about how they can get to shelter, when fleeing a violent situation, where they do not have access to private transport.
For anyone affected by domestic abuse help and support is available through the 24hr Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline (0808 802 1414). This is free and confidential. The Helpline can also be contacted by email and web chat is available at www.dsahelpline.org.
In an emergency those affected by domestic abuse should contact the police on 999.