WOMEN in the Riverina are among those at greater risk of domestic violence, a new study has confirmed.
It comes as University of New England researcher, Gina Dillon, releases findings that indicate 26 per cent of women from rural and remote areas report partner abuse, compared to 24 per cent in regional areas and just 20 per cent in cities.
While the findings go only a little way of revealing the true extent of the silent epidemic, Wagga Women’s Health Centre believes it confirms what they already experience at the coalface every single day.
“The findings of the report are not surprising,” health centre project worker, Lauren Darley-Bentley, said.
“Previous research showed regional domestic violence rates as 1.5 times higher compared to metropolitan areas. It is good to have more research to confirm this.”
The research found country women were more likely to report having experienced partner violence, compared to women living in metropolitan areas.
Using data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, Dr Dillon found that 21.6 per cent of women reported having been in a violent relationship with a partner.
“It is hard to know why the rates are higher in the country without doing research into this, however it is likely due to the fact that women from rural and remote areas are more willing to report violence (according to this latest report), stronger traditional gender roles in rural areas and greater isolation,” Ms Darley-Bentley said.
WWHC launched a research project, “Domestic Violence: Our Issue, Our Response”, late last year, which aims to bolster awareness and form a whole-of-community response.
“We will seek to identify the prevalence of domestic violence in Wagga - at the moment we only know what is reported to police,” Ms Darley-Bentley said.
“With this local data we can do our own comparisons with the rates from capital cities to see the difference.”