Domestic abuse harder to escape in rural areas
An 18 month inquiry into domestic abuse reveals those in rural areas suffer longer, report it less and struggle to get support.
The National Rural Crime Network report carried out interviews with people affected by domestic abuse. They also carried out interviews with those working in supporting domestic abuse victims.
It found that victims in rural areas are isolated, unprotected and unsupported. Claims are that this ‘hell’ protects the perpetrators of domestic abuse in rural areas.
The inquiry used a review of academic literature and a separate survey of over 850 abuse survivors to see how and why the experience of domestic abuse is different from urban to rural areas.
Physical isolation was often used as a weapon the report found.
Rural victims are half as likely to report domestic abuse.
And they experience it for around 25% longer.
The report includes evidence that perpetrators move victims to rural settings to isolate them or use it to their advantage if already living in rural areas.
This helps them to control their victims. And it makes it harder for the victims to escape the abuse.
Police response inadequate
Feedback from victims shows that policing is inadequate for domestic abuse in rural areas.
This was due to:
- Lack of female officers in some rural areas
- Less officers with appropriate domestic abuse training
- Victims not considering calling due to distance away from police stations
Scarce support services
The report also comments that support services for victims is less available, less effective and less visible in rural areas.
“Domestic abuse is still one of the hidden sides of our society. This report is saddening - that the access to help is less in our rural communities.”
“Many people think living in the countryside is ideal, but in fact for those in abusive relationships, it can make their perpetrator’s control more powerful. Physical isolation is used to their advantage.”
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