A charity for vulnerable women has celebrated the extension of a law that makes rail travel free for those fleeing domestic abuse.

Women Out West provides activities and services to inspire and empower women in the area, including some who have left an abusive situation.

Rail companies have this week extended a joint Rail to Refuge scheme with Women’s Aid to make travel free for those fleeing domestic abuse.

Founder of Women Out West Rachel Holliday believes it is a positive move.

“A lot of the time, women who are fleeing abuse don’t have a penny in their pocket," she said.

In some cases, vulnerable women are unable to flee an unsafe home because the abuser is controlling their finances.

Women Out West works in partnership with Copeland Council’s prevention and crisis support officer and Cumbria police to support vulnerable women who have to leave their home.

She added: “We have a grab bag prepared at Women Out West.”

Women who need to flee a violent spouse or partner can receive the essentials before the council’s housing team finds them alternative accommodation.

Rachel said: “We work with Copeland’s domestic abuse service to make sure that person is safe.”

She added that the free rail provision is important but women they support have not yet needed it.

“I think that’s because in West Cumbria, we’ve got a good community for people in need," she added. "Someone is usually on hand to help people out.”

The council created the specialist role to support those who need to flee a dangerous situation.

Copeland Council’s crisis support officer is available on 01946 427070.