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"Rural and regional women more likely to suffer abuse."

A submission by Deakin’s Centre for Rural Regional Law and Justice (CRRLJ) to the Royal Commission into Family Violence has called for increased support for women in rural and regional Victoria.

Authored by researchers Bridget Harris and Amanda George, the submission’s recommendations include more specialist family violence courts and an increase in funding for legal assistance.

Ms George said that some women from rural and regional Victoria are three times more likely to experience family violence than their city counterparts and that their postcodes could impede the delivery of support and justice.

‘Services need to follow. Services in the community for women and children escaping family violence, services for men in the community who are all of a sudden realising that their behaviour is inappropriate and they need to change their behaviour,’ she said.

Ms George added that the closer-knit networks within rural and regional communities often resulted in a lack of confidentiality with regard to incidents of family violence.

‘A lot of people experienced extremely high levels of shame because they were in communities where everyone knew each other's business, whereas in the city one can be much more anonymous.’

Ms George and Dr Harris’s 2014 paper, Landscapes of Violence: Women Surviving Family Violence in Regional and Rural Victoria was one of two CRRLJ research projects that informed the submission.

The CRRLJ is located within Deakin Law School and aims to enhance access to improved justice systems and services for regional and rural Australians through research, education, engagement and advocacy.

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