We have extended our support to domestic abuse victims by leading the rail industry in implementing an Online Safe Spaces service portal on our website.
Developed by Royal Mail Group in collaboration with crisis charity Hestia and the UKSAYSNOMORE campaign, Online Safe Spaces is a virtual portal which can be installed on websites free of charge. It provides support, advice and contact services via a pop-up window, and allowing users to access resources discreetly without leaving an online history trace.
Click the Safe Spaces logo on the homepage of networkrail.co.uk to access an untraceable web page of support and helplines.
Through Women in Rail, we were brought together with early adopters including rail operator High Speed 1 (HS1) and train operator Southeastern Railway and we're now encouraging others across the rail industry to implement the service on their websites.
Since the lockdown began in March 2020, reports of domestic abuse in the UK have increased dramatically, with charity Refuge reporting on its website a 25% increase in calls and online requests.
In November 2020, we became a White Ribbon UK-accredited organisation, demonstrating our commitment to influencing collective action to change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse or violence.
Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “We are delighted to support the Online Safe Spaces portal by making it available on our website. The pandemic is having a huge impact on our country’s most vulnerable and this platform will be a vital resource for those who may be subjected to domestic abuse.”
Dyan Crowther, chief executive of HS1, said: “We are proud to be amongst the first organisations to be driving forward this important initiative in our industry.
“We want to ensure that our stations and the entire passenger journey is a safe environment for those who need it. Through leading by example, I hope we can influence others to take part, support communities and make a greater stand against violence and domestic abuse.”
David Statham, managing director of Southeastern Railway, said: “This is an extension to the support we and other train operators have already pledged in this area. The Online Safe Space portal could help save a life or offer an opportunity for a way out. It’s simple, it’s discreet and provides information such as national helplines and local support services very quickly, without leaving an online trace.
“Often, a passenger journey starts online, with booking tickets and researching fares and train times. Providing discretion and support at the beginning of that journey could make a difference. And this difference takes an industry effort.”
We encourage you to seek help at its stations if you need it. This is in addition to the Rail to Refuge initiative – a joint effort between rail companies and Women's Aid – seeing train operators cover the cost of train tickets for women, men and children travelling to refuge accommodation. Since April 2020, the scheme has helped almost 1,000 people fleeing abuse, including more than 200 children.
For more information on how companies can adopt Online Safe Spaces please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the scheme and how it works, please visit the Rail to Refuge FAQs.