Little-known fund offering up to £500 vital lifeline for those fleeing domestic violence – how to claim | The Sun

A LITTLE-known fund is offering up to £500 to help those fleeing domestic violence.

TSB's "flee fund" offers existing TSB customers up to £500 to escape an abusive situation, with £356 being provided on average so far.

Domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling and abusive behaviour, which can include physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse.

The bank introduced the scheme in December 2022, with TSB branch staff also receiving specialist training to spot signs of domestic abuse and to help survivors.

TSB said that 136 people have accessed its fund in 10 months since launch, with 48 of them, or roughly 35%, having one or more children.

The fund is there to assist people with the cost of essentials such as travel, clothing and toiletries and victims can ask for help in a branch and over the phone.

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To prevent abuse from reaching bank customers, the bank also blocks abusive and threatening terms from being sent to payees.

TSB is also now extending the scheme to staff affected by domestic abuse.

The bank's Colleague Flee Fund provides financial support to assist individuals with the cost of essentials that may be barriers to leaving an abusive relationship.

To access the fund, staff can speak in confidence to their manager or HR, as well as by visiting a TSB branch.

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Katie Osiadacz, head of responsible business at TSB, said: "We have seen first-hand the impact our Emergency Flee Fund plays in helping survivors of domestic abuse take urgent action to escape their abusive and dangerous situation."

Farah Nazeer, Women's Aid chief executive said: "Emergency funds are desperately needed by those seeking to leave their abusers, especially now, given the additional challenges presented by the cost-of-living crisis.

"Through our work with survivors, we constantly hear about the economic barriers preventing them from fleeing their abusers.

"Women and their children are often faced with insecurity – they either face homelessness or must rely on the circumstances of family and friends to be able to put them up for short periods of time."

The update comes months after Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced a £300,000 pot in a pilot scheme to help women in England and Wales.

The fun was set up following a Sun campaign, and Spice Girl Mel B hailed it a life-saver at the time.

Since May, abuse survivors have been able to apply for £250 cash or voucher payments – £500 if they have children – through the charity Women’s Aid.

The fund can be be used to help with essentials such as food, nappies, clothes or even rent.

Ministers hope that the fund will be extended by the government when the pot runs dry.

What other support and advice is available?

If you're not sure whether you're actually being abused, you can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline.

This is available on 0808 2000 247 in England, 0808 801 0800 in Wales, 0800 027 1234 in Scotland and 0808 802 1414 in Northern Ireland.

There's also the National LGBT and Domestic Abuse helpline on 0800 999 5428.

The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors, can also be reached on 0808 801 0327 and is run by Respect.

Boris Johnson launched a scheme back in 2021, where victims "Ask for Ani" – meaning 'Action Needed Immediately'.

It's is a codeword scheme that enables victims of domestic abuse to discreetly ask for immediate help in participating pharmacies and Jobcentres (Jobs and Benefits Offices in Northern Ireland).

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Over 5,000 pharmacies, including Boots, Lloyds and community pharmacies, are now enrolled in the scheme.

Of course, if you find yourself in an emergency, you should always call the police on 999.

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