WI calls for public-awareness campaign to tackle violence against women
Press release issued: 3 June 2009
Women living in rural areas are suffering as much violence as those in towns and cities but are less likely to think that it is happening in their community according to new research conducted by researchers at the University for the Women’s Institute (WI) and launched today by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI).
Women living in rural areas are suffering as much violence as those in towns and cities but are less likely to think that it is happening in their community, according to new research conducted by researchers at the University. The project, commissioned by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), will be launched today [Wednesday 3 June] at their AGM in the Royal Albert Hall.
The research highlights that almost three quarters of women agree that violence against women is hidden and not discussed openly in their community, contributing to a sense of shame that stops survivors speaking out. It also shows that emotional and psychological abuses are among the most prevalent forms of abuse, with many respondents saying that it has as big an impact on women as physical abuse.
The NFWI will call for a public-information campaign to raise awareness about the prevalence of violence against women, and for training for GPs in rural areas to help them identify women affected by violence.
NFWI Chair Fay Mansell said:
‘The research suggests that violence against women, despite its frequency, continues to be a hidden issue. Many victims do not speak out due to fear and shame. We want people in all communities to acknowledge that violence is there and takes many forms – not just physical abuse.
‘Public-awareness campaigns have been successful in the past, most notably in changing attitudes towards drink-driving. It is now time the government launched a campaign to end violence against women. This must be honest, and show that violence against women can affect any woman from any background and also be realistic by showing the many forms it can take.’
Dr Melanie McCarry, one of the report’s authors, added:
‘ This research highlights the impact of violence against women in both rural and urban areas. We found that women in rural areas perceived a lack of services available to address violence against women in their communities, particularly access to women's support services such as rape crisis centres and refuges.’The NFWI commissioned Dr McCarry and Dr Emma Williamson from the University’s Centre for Family Policy and Child Welfare to research attitudes towards, and perceptions of, violence against women in rural areas as part of their No More Violence Against Women campaign. The project will help tackle stereotyped views of violence against women and will call for women living in rural areas to be given more support. More than 5,000 women responded to the survey from both urban and rural areas.
- For a copy of the research report and for all interview requests, please contact Jennie Farrell or Amy Bick in the NFWI press office on 020 7371 9300 (x208) or 07803 086115 (out of hours) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The WI is the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK with more than 205,000 members in 6,500 WIs.
- NFWI is a member of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, which is calling for governments at all levels to develop strategies to eradicate violence against women. Other members of the coalition include Amnesty International UK, Refuge, Rape Crisis England and Wales and the TUC.
- Drs McCarry and Williamson are members of the Violence Against Women Research Group.