Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, irrespective of age, gender, race, sexuality, level of educational achievement or where they live.

For the year ending March 2023, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that 1.4 million women and 751,000 men aged 16 years and over experienced domestic abuse in the last year. This is a prevalence rate of approximately 6 in 100 women and 3 in 100 men. That means that it could be affecting someone you know. However, there are a number of characteristics of rural life that can often exacerbate the effects of abuse and leave victims suffering for longer periods than those in towns and cities.

Understanding Domestic Abuse

For many years the term domestic violence was used, however, this does not cover the full scope of abuse that can happen in a domestic setting. Domestic abuse can include a single incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer.

Domestic Abuse in a Rural Setting

For many the rural isolation is one of the main draws to living in an area such as the Peak District or the Derbyshire Dales, however, that same isolation can mean that domestic abuse, which is based on isolating people from friends, family and support networks, can be more likely and last for longer periods.

That isolation can also be compounded by poor public transport links and inadequate mobile phone reception and internet access. And rural victims of abuse can sometimes struggle to access support services – which are more often based in built up areas.

Rural life, particularly for those in farming communities, is typically based on traditional roles which can see women in particular marginalised in their role within the family. This can lead to isolation not only from the wider world but also from those in their communities – making them more likely to be potential victims of abuse.

The community they live in is also a potential factor when it comes to the impact of abuse in rural settings. With a tight-knit village it can be very hard for individuals to report concerns about potential abusers when they are likely to be very closely involved with them in village life.

The Willow Project (part of Rural Action Derbyshire) aims to raise awareness around the different challenges faced by domestic abuse victims who live rurally as opposed to those who live in a more urban setting.  They deliver training and talks which highlight the different barriers to leaving faced by those who live and work rurally.  Training is free to anyone who lives or works in Derbyshire.  If you would like to find out more about this training please click here:- Willow Project Training Dates | Rural Action Derbyshire.

Getting Support

There are many excellent services that are able to support victims of abuse no matter their location, but it is absolutely key that everyone takes their own individual responsibility to report matters when they are concerned.

Abuse is never acceptable – whether it be in a city, town, village or hamlet – and Derbyshire Constabulary, along with partners, like the Willow Project and Rural Action Derbyshire, will work together to ensure that victims are supported and the abuse stops.

Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline, a single point of contact for support and advice in Derbyshire:

National Domestic Abuse Helpline:

Rural Action Derbyshire – The Willow Project raising awareness of rural domestic abuse issues:

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