‘He hits me and that’s just how it is here’: responding to domestic abuse in rural communities

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Charlotte BarlowUCLAN, UK

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Pam DaviesNorthumbria University, UK

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Rob EwinIndependent Researcher

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Few criminological studies have specifically set out to research responses to domestic abuse in rural communities. A small number of recent studies have arrived at the problem from a health and/or social geography perspective lending weight to the increasingly apparent significance of space and culture in rural domestic abuse. This article contributes to this research agenda, focusing on the ways in which police and other agencies respond to domestic abuse within the spatial context of rural England and victim-survivors’ experiences of such responses. The article outlines empirical work with a police partner based in the North of England. The study involved a case file analysis of police data and interviews with police officers, partner agency representatives and victim-survivors. We discuss the ways in which apparent heightened gendered conservatism and the ‘cloak of silence’ leads to difficulties in the identification of domestic abuse in rural communities and argue the importance of engaging in holistic and multi-agency approaches when responding to domestic abuse in remote and inaccessible rural communities.

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Charlotte BarlowUCLAN, UK

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Pam DaviesNorthumbria University, UK

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Rob EwinIndependent Researcher

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