Uber partnered with a domestic violence charity to provide women with free rides

Anyone who chooses to use a simple Uber feature next week will be able to give away a domestic violence getaway car for free thanks to a new initiative.

Uber partnered with domestic violence organization WESNET to launch it Take part in a ride, a ride gift Safety Campaign to raise awareness of violence affecting women in Australia.

Users just have to select Share their ride with a trusted contact, an option that appears on screen after starting an Uber trip, and the company will then provide the woman affected by domestic violence with a free ride voucher each time the option is selected from November 25 – December 10.

“We know that many people use Uber every day, and the vast majority of people do not want violence against women,” said Karen Bentley, CEO of WESNET.

“But a lot of times people don’t feel they can make a difference, but here’s a really practical and tangible way you can do it.”

Uber has partnered with WESNET, the apex body representing more than 300 domestic violence services in Australia, since 2019, and provides an average of five free rides to vulnerable women every day.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused logistical problems for shelters trying to help women fleeing violence, Bentley says, calling the Uber vouchers a “blessing”.

“When we entered the pandemic, and everyone was on lockdown, the average domestic and family violence service, which had staff in an office and maybe had some staff cars…suddenly they weren’t there,” she said.

How will we help [a woman] Leaving the station when it was moved 250 km from home to get away from the aggressor?

“Who will take my mother and three children and take them to the women’s shelter?”

Not only has the pandemic caused logistical problems, but it has also caused the number of domestic violence incidents to “surge”.

“Women who had never experienced violence before suddenly started experiencing it for the first time, and for many of the women who did, it got a lot worse,” Bentley said.

The campaign also aims to raise awareness about safety features in the Uber app.

To share your location while riding, simply swipe up on the screen after requesting a ride, tap the Share Your Status option and select up to five people from your contact list to share your status with.

These people will receive a text message with a link containing your trip details, opening it showing your driver’s first name and vehicle information, as well as your real-time map location.

Originally published as A simple act to save Australian women from domestic violence

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