This thesis presents a criminological exploration on the impact rurality has on both the strategic and community safety response to domestic violence. It also considers how rurality affects the delivery of services and subsequently victims’ experiences. The thesis explores the relationship between service provider’s views – police, housing, probation etc – of victims’ experiences of domestic violence in a rural area, and their perceptions of the service and strategic response to domestic violence in rural Northumberland. It is set in the context of the relationship between partners from the voluntary and statutory sector, especially criminal justice agencies and how they work from a strategic and operational level in addressing domestic violence. Incorporated within this framework is how, from a strategic level, the governance of domestic violence has been addressed from a criminal justice and Local Authority perspective. The thesis includes an analysis of the Domestic Violence Forums and the implications for partnership working within a two tier Local Authority structure. This analysis will also incorporate an examination of the police response to domestic violence both at an operational and strategic level and how the Domestic Violence Forums and the police linked with Local Authorities and in particular the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs). The unfolding analysis will inform our understanding of how the distinct factors of rurality impact on the nature and extent of domestic violence and the strategic and community safety response. From a theoretical perspective the main influence is drawn from feminist ideology especially radical and socialist strands. An analysis of these strands developed an understanding of issues such as women’s oppression and patriarchy especially in relation to domestic violence. Also an analysis of the theory of rurality was undertaken so as to understand the complexities of the term ‘rural’ and how a single definition of rurality is fraught with difficulties. Because of this difficulty a framework of classifications of rural has been constructed for the purposes of this thesis. The research methods used for the thesis included semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and victims of domestic violence. A general review of the domestic violence literature was undertaken as well as a review of literature related to themes such as partnership working, community safety and victimology. There was also an analysis of published and unpublished literature such as government circulars, minutes from Domestic Violence Forums and CDRP meetings and funding bids. There are four key themes to emerge from the research which are; the police response, partnership working, distance and time and cultural differences. Whilst some of the findings to emerge in these categories reflect issues relevant to both rural and urban areas, there are some specific to rural areas. The conclusion to the thesis will identify and discuss these issues in greater detail.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 19 Jan 2012|