PCADV works to end abuse against people who live in rural areas. Forty-one of our fifty-nine local domestic violence programs provide services in rural communities across Pennsylvania.
Studies show that people in rural areas are just as likely as people in cities and suburban areas to be abused. But some things can make it harder for these survivors to get help.
“Rural culture” means everyone works at the same jobs and knows what is going on in each other’s lives. That means police, judges, social service, health care workers and faith leaders know both the survivor and the abusive partner(s).
Hiding from an abusive partner in rural areas is more difficult and means that people have to go to great lengths to get help. For example:
- The survivor may live far away from their domestic violence program, jobs, the courthouse, doctors, neighbors, families and friends.
- There is little access to public transportation or childcare.
- There may be strong ties among extended families that mean breaking up the family is frowned upon. Because of this and other reasons, friends and family may hesitate to “get involved.”
- Cell phone coverage is spotty and some may not have a landline to call for help.
- Police, fire departments, and ambulance services can take longer to arrive, sometimes hours.
- It is harder to get a free lawyer.
- Low-cost and safe housing is hard to find and if it is available, it might be in the same small town that both the survivor and the abuser live in.
People who own, live or work on a farm are faced with even harder decisions since their personal and business lives are often tied together.
It is one thing to worry about whether or not someone will feed the cat, dog or fish; it is another to worry about who will milk the cows, muck the stalls or tend to the daily needs of horses, goats, chicken and pigs. If one person leaves the relationship with the children, the farm is almost certain to go out of business. And, if farm life is all the survivor knows, getting a good paying job somewhere else is difficult.
Our current and future work includes:
- Rural Advocacy Task Force meetings – where staff from rural programs can network, share resources and receive training
- Training and resources for the Pennsylvania domestic violence programs and other professionals
- Participation in the National Rural Coordinators Group
- Sharing resources from the Rural Health Information Hub and Center For Rural PA in our bi-monthly newsletters
Learn More About Violence & Abuse in Rural America on RHI Hub