Assisting Rural Domestic Violence Victims: The Local Librarian’s Role

Rules prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law by non-lawyers serve many important purposes: limiting fraudulent activities, protecting the public, protecting the bar, and many more. However, those valid purposes can limit non-lawyers from engaging in otherwise helpful activities, particularly in the domestic violence arena. For instance, the laws against the unauthorized practice of law have been relaxed in some states, including Illinois, in the case of laypersons working to assist domestic violence victims in court to allow those who cannot afford a lawyer to have a helping hand from a knowledgeable and trained layperson or victim advocate. Librarians are ideally suited, especially in rural areas, to serve as advocates, at least within the confines of the library, to domestic violence victims as well. Indeed, with the proper training, librarians could be an ideal partner to combating domestic abuse in rural areas, as many victims of domestic abuse are prevented from working outside the home and may only be permitted by their abuser to access public places, like a library, without punishment.

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Daily Yonder: Keep it Rural

The Daily Yonder, a daily multi-media source of rural news, commentary, research, and features has been published on the web since 2007 by the Center for Rural Strategies, a non-profit media organization based in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Dangerous Exits: Escaping Abusive Relationships in Rural America

Authors: Walter DeKeseredy and Martin Schwartz

Rural crime is a fast growing area of interest among scholars in criminology. From studies of agricultural crime in Australia, to violence against women in Appalachia America, to poaching in Uganda, to land theft in Brazil — the criminology community has come to recognize that crime manifests itself in rural localities in ways that both conform to and challenge conventional theory and research. For the first time, Rural Criminology brings together contemporary research and conceptual considerations to synthesize rural crime studies from a critical perspective.

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 Expertise at “making do”: overcoming transportation barriers in rural areas

In Dec 2016, Praxis published an article summarizing responses from a survey to rural communities about how they overcome transportation barriers in their communities. Read the full article. 

Finding Statistics and Data Related to Rural Health

This guide on Rural Health will help you locate and fairly and accurately use statistics and data to understand rural health needs and rural/urban disparities, communicate rural health needs, and inform decision-making related to service delivery and policy.

Intimate Partner Violence in Rural U.S. Areas: What Every Nurse Should Know

Author: Dudgeon, Amanda MS, APRN, FNP-C; Evanson, Tracy A. Phd, RN, APHN-BC

Intimate partner violence is a major health care issue, affecting nearly 6% of U.S. women annually. Multiple mental and physical health problems are associated with intimate partner violence, and billions of health care dollars are spent in trying to address the consequences. Although prevalence rates of intimate partner violence are roughly the same in rural and nonrural areas, rural survivors face distinct barriers in obtaining help and services. Because rural women routinely access health care services in nonrural as well as rural settings, it’s essential that all providers understand the issues specific to rural survivors. Routine screening for intimate partner violence would create opportunities for women to disclose abuse and for providers to help victims obtain assistance and support that may keep them safer. This in turn would likely decrease serious health sequelae and lower health care costs. This article describes the unique aspects of intimate partner violence in rural populations. It also describes a simple screening tool that can be used in all settings, discusses ways to approach the topic and facilitate disclosure, and addresses interventions; relevant resources are also provided.

Key resources for understanding sexual violence research focused on rural communities

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Language access in rural advocacy

In September 2015, Praxis published an article summarizing the importance of providing language access in rural advocacy provision. Read the full article.

LGBT people in rural areas struggle to find good medical care

from CNN Health

National Rural Health Resource Center

The National Rural Health Resource Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining and improving health care in rural communities. As the nation’s leading technical assistance and knowledge center in rural health, The Center focuses on five core areas: Performance Improvement, Health Information Technology, Recruitment & Retention, Community Health Assessments, Networking

New Immigrant Settlements in Rural America: Problems, Prospects, and Policies

This report examines recent immigrants in rural and small town America, through analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. For many decades urban areas have been, and they remain, the destination of choice for the nation’s immigrants. Recent evidence suggests, however, that many immigrant groups are dispersing away from traditional gateway cities. Many small towns and cities in every region of the country are contending with new challenges and opportunities brought by rapid increases in their immigrant populations. To inform policy discussions of this important issue the report: Places the latest wave of immigration to the United States in historical and policy context; Calls attention to prevailing evidence on the residential preferences of the foreign born, including their movement away from metropolitan areas and their segregation from the native born in regards to neighborhood of residence; Pinpoints geographically and describes socio-economically places across the vast expanse of rural America that have received relatively large in?uxes of recent immigrants; and, Compares the characteristics of recent immigrants in rural areas both to their native-born counterparts in those areas, and to their foreign-born counterparts living in more urban locales.

Place Matters: Domestic Violence and Rural Difference

Author: Lisa R. Pruitt

This article considers the phenomenon of domestic violence in relation to the rural-urban axis. It assesses the difference that rurality makes to the occurrence, investigation, prosecution, and judicial decision-making regarding this crime. Among the factors analyzed are spatial or geographic isolation, as well as the social isolation and lack of anonymity it fosters; severe economic disadvantage; the entrenched nature of rural patriarchy; and legal actors who are often ill-informed about domestic violence and constrained by limited resources. It concludes by arguing for place-specific responses aimed at diminishing the obstacles to justice that confront rural victims of domestic violence. It further asserts that the solutions to this social problem must be multi-scalar (or multi-jurisdictional), using local know-how that is informed by universal norms that establish women’s fundamental rights and dignity, including the right to be free from violence.

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Rural Community Leadership Development

The Heartland Center for Leadership Development is an independent, nonprofit organization developing local leadership that responds to the challenges of the future of small towns and rural communities.

Rural Domestic and Sexual Abuse Program Advocates: Making a Difference in the Lives of Older Survivors of Abuse

Author: Ann Turner, National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life

Rural domestic and sexual abuse service programs can play a crucial role in providing older victims the advocacy and services they need to be safe and to heal from the trauma of abuse. The purpose of this booklet is to provide rural domestic and sexual abuse service programs with resources and tools to effectively respond to abuse in later life, an issue that lies at the nexus between domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse. The first section provides an overview of abuse in later life and the unique challenges it poses for older victims and service providers. The remainder of the booklet provides ideas and perspectives for serving older victims, including suggestions on tailoring services in domestic and sexual violence programs to better meet the needs of this population and a discussion on how communities can work together to respond to abuse in later life.

NCALL website to download toolkit

Rural Policy Research Institute

The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) provides unbiased analysis and information on the challenges, needs, and opportunities facing rural America. RUPRI’s aim is to spur public dialogue and help policymakers understand the rural impacts of public policies and programs. RUPRI’s activities encompass research, policy analysis and engagement, dissemination and outreach, and decision support tools. 

  Rural Realities Blog from SVJI!

Sexual Violence Justice Institute’s Rural Technical Assistance Project brings people, knowledge, and resources together to develop real solutions for rural communities addressing sexual violence. SVJI takes a collaborative approach in creating tools, trainings, and conferences designed for rural spaces and tailored assistance to meet your community’s specific needs. Rural Realities blog is a space to reflect, connect, and share about the work of coordinated sexual assault responses with others doing similar work across the United States. Please contact Johnanna Ganz with any rural related needs or questions.

 Working with survivors with multiple issues in rural communities

In July 2015, Praxis responded to a question about how to best advocate for survivors facing complex issues. Read our response.