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Family Violence - Unhappy child with silhouette of parents expressing quarrel

Domestic violence victims lack support

Research by the National Rural Crime Network has claimed domestic violence victims in rural areas are lacking vital support due to isolation, closed communities, fewer transport links and difficulty in accessing services

Domestic violence victims living in rural areas are “lacking support that could mean the difference between life and death”, the report has claimed. It showed victims stay longer with abusive partners, on average three years before seeking help compared to 2.6 years in urban areas.

It claims that while the number of domestic violence offences recorded per 1,000 people in rural areas is lower, this is because victims are less likely to report the crime to police. The report says it is more difficult to access support services in the countryside, which often has poor public transport, and that abusers are drawn to rural areas so that they can keep their victim isolated.

It concludes: “The nature of domestic abuse itself is similar across rural and urban areas and the factors that drive it are similar. However, rurality is a weapon that increases isolation, stigma and shame in small, often closed communities, and which creates barriers that, without pro-active intervention, will prevent many victims accessing support.”

The researchers interviewed 67 victims from seven different areas of England, as well as reviewing existing literature on domestic violence.

Chairwoman of the National Rural Crime Network Julia Mulligan said: “This report is clear, domestic abuse is hidden under our noses, hidden by abusers who like to keep it that way and on a scale of abuse hitherto unseen. All parties with a duty to help victims; the police, support services, charities, Police and Crime Commissioners, health services, and many others, need to understand that we have missed this. We have let victims and survivors down.”

Read: Independent – Domestic violence victims in rural areas lacking vital support, report claims