10: The Needs of Intimate Partner Violence Victims in Rural America

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Victims in rural and isolated areas often face unique and complex obstacles when attempting to leave abusive situations because of culturally constructed gender roles, the stigma of abuse, poverty, a lack of access to housing and services, and many other challenges. Given the difficulties intimate partner violence (IPV) victims commonly encounter, the need to better measure the magnitude of IPV and resulting tangible and intangible costs becomes even more urgent. In this chapter, an extensive literature review examines the prevalence, incidences, needs and costs of IPV victimisation in rural areas. The authors provide a localised study on victimisation and rurality; the researchers surveyed service providers in Kansas, a predominantly rural state in the United States, for quantitative and qualitative data to explore the cost of IPV from practitioners’ perspectives. The chapter identifies the costs of IPV while providing critical knowledge to the field regarding the availability, accessibility, equity and effectiveness of the approaches to address IPV in rural communities. The goal is to understand how service providers in a rural area estimate IPV costs, both tangible and intangible, the challenges to estimating these costs, and any adverse circumstances that may mitigate or contribute to a higher risk of IPV. The chapter ends with empirically driven policy suggestions on access to rural justice to other rural communities.

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