Conference addresses needs of survivors of domestic, intimate partner violence in rural communities
October 18, 2023 -- Sixty percent of counties in the U.S. are either completely rural or mostly rural, accounting for more than 42 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Rural America Report.
Courts in rural communities often face different challenges than those in urban areas. To address these challenges, NCSC's Rural Justice Collaborative (RJC) partnered with the Institute for Coordinated Community Response earlier this month to offer a virtual conference focused on domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors in rural communities.
“Rural practitioners often have limited training opportunities to learn from each other. A learning opportunity such as this brings rural communities together to share innovations specific to their communities in this space,” said NCSC Principal Court Management Consultant Michelle Cern.
Sessions addressed how rural courts and communities can overcome obstacles (such as extended distances to a courthouse and sparse resources and services), and experts offered training about domestic violence dynamics.
Practitioners provided solutions, including developing safety plans, using a navigator program, and seeking survivor feedback to improve services.
The conference also examined the close association between DV and IPV survivors and substance abuse. According to research by the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health, the prevalence of substance abuse among women survivors of IPV is consistently higher compared to persons who have not experienced IPV.
NCSC’s Transforming Justice: 2022-2025 Strategic Campaign identifies enhancing rural court services as a critical focus area to improve the delivery of fair and equitable justice. NCSC continues to enhance rural court services by developing tools, offering consulting services and technical assistance, and providing education specific to rural courts.
The Rural Justice Collaborative was launched in 2021 to showcase the strengths of rural communities and highlight the cross-sector collaboration that is a hallmark of rural justice systems.