Country Women's Experiences of Domestic Violence Captured by New Report
A new research report launched by the University of South Australia and Uniting Country SA has found that rural women experiencing domestic violence are often apprehensive to seek professional support and unable to recognise the early signs of domestic abuse.
The Young Country Women’s Perceptions of Intimate Partner Violence report sought to investigate young rural women’s views on and experiences of violence in their intimate relationships.
The research involved conducting interviews with country women aged between 16 and 24, as well as older women who experienced intimate partner violence at that age.
The report found that young country women were not properly equipped to recognise the early signs of intimate partner violence, particularly if they were experiencing non-physical abuse.
“It was striking to learn that young women did not recognise the start of intimate partner violence, particularly when the violence was non-physical. The effects of this type of violence, however, were both insidious and profound,” the report found.
Interviews also revealed that young rural women experiencing violence are often hesitant to seek professional support, and unsure where to go to find it.
The report calls for formal domestic violence services to be made more readily accessible to young rural women.
In addition to recommending that youth workers and domestic violence workers increase their understanding of intimate partner violence, the report also highlights the need for greater systemic-level reform.
“A whole-of-community approach that addresses the drivers of violence against women is needed to support long-term, positive, change,” the report insisted.
Australia-wide studies indicate that higher proportions of rural women have experienced intimate partner violence than their urban counterparts.
However, most research capturing women’s experiences of family violence in Australia have predominantly drawn on the lived experiences of women from metropolitan regions.