We investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic-violence service providers in rural and island communities in North-East Scotland and Orkney. Domestic abuse and violence in rural areas is typically underestimated and might be more hidden due to stigma, a surveillance culture, and the practical difficulties of accessing services. The geographical challenges of rural and remote areas in relation to domestic violence are, to some extent, further amplified in small island locations, given population sizes, terrain and separation by sea. In such communities, visits to a service organisation's offices, or a visit by one of their staff, might publicly mark a service user out as a domestic-abuse survivor. This article focuses on the move to digital and telephone provision of support in areas where broadband Internet access is inconsistent and service users may live many miles from sources of support. At the same time, the move to online modes of communication was welcomed by staff in relation to offering opportunities for training and networking. There was also use of social and local media to raise awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence in these locations and to counter the myth of idyllic and abuse-free rural and island communities.

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Pedersen, S., Mueller-Hirth, N. & Miller, L. 2021, Supporting victims of domestic violence at a distance during COVID-19: the impact of the pandemic on service providers in remote, rural and island communities in North-East Scotland and Orkney, Robert Gordon University. Available at: https://rgu-repository.worktribe.com/output/1866788

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Last updated: 27 January 2023
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