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Women who live rurally are more likely to experience domestic violence, says Rural Women New Zealand, but the true number may be even higher.

RWNZ national president Fiona Gower told The Country’s Jamie Mackay she believed not all cases were reported.

“Living rurally often you don’t want to talk about these sort of things because you know all your neighbours and you don’t want that getting out.”

She said isolation, poor connectivity, the pressure of farming life and a reluctance to speak out had resulted in the worrying family violence statistics for rural women.

Statistics show that 39 per cent of rural women will experience domestic violence, compared to 33 per cent of urban women.

Gower said RWNZ wanted to make sure that were well protected and they were able to contact the services they “desperately” required.

“Because they live remotely … they don’t have access to the services, the likes of Victim Support or the Women’s Refuges … even just getting counselling … or calling the police can be really difficult.”

Listen to “Fiona Gower on rural family violence” on Spreaker.

RWNZ also wanted to ensure that victims’ privacy was protected said Gower.

“If information sharing goes on, they have to be certain that they are comfortable with that happening, without anybody learning about the information that shouldn’t know.”

Where to get help
Victim Support: 0800 842 846 (0800 VICTIM)
Women’s Refuge New Zealand: 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)

Source: The Country

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