Police are urging domestic violence victims in the countryside across the county to seek help after the release of a rural crime report.

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd are encouraging people in the rural communities across to seek help if they are suffering from domestic abuse.

According to a


from the National Rural Crime Network, victims are half as likely to report their suffering compared to those living in town and cities.

Those who live in the countryside and are being abused by their partners stay longer with them – an average of three years before seeking help. This is compared to 2.6 years in urban areas.

Mr Lloyd said: “The majority of our county consists of rural areas and I am aware of how isolated rural victims can feel.

“This report is clear – domestic abuse is hidden under our noses.

"All parties have a duty to help victims; the police, support services, charities, Police and Crime Commissioners, health services and many others.

"Victims and improving services for them remain at the core of what I stand for. Our flagship Beacon victims centre is available to any resident in an abusive relationship to contact and get help.

"It is totally confidential, there are trained advisers available in person, on the phone or via the website. You do not need to have filed a police complaint or intend to do so to access the service.

"Anyone concerned about abuse can contact the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline where anonymity is also assured."

The report took place over 18 months across the country with the help of 67 victims who gave their accounts of their abuse, its impacts and how it was dealt with.

Key conclusions from the report are:

  • Domestic abuse lasts on average 25 per cent longer in most rural areas – the report finds the abuse is harder, goes on for longer and is more complex due to additional barriers in the countryside
  • Rurality and isolation are used as a weapon by abusers. There was evidence that shows they specifically move victims to rural settings to further isolate them.
  • Close-knit rural communities facilitate abuse – they can keep domestic abuse hidden

Chair of the National Rural Crime Network and the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said: “I have spoken to many people about the emerging themes and everyone has nodded and said, yes we know there is domestic abuse in rural areas, yes we know there are problems for victims.

“This report must surely be a catalyst to help us better protect the women, children and men in rural communities who suffer daily at the hands of calculating, manipulating, controlling and violent abusers.”

The National Rural Crime Network has issued six recommendations such as Chief Constables to assess and improve their service provision in rural areas and for the communities to challenge the status quo and societal norms in rural communities to redress inequality between women and men.

Beacon Victim Care centre, based at Hertfordshire Police Headquarters can be contacted on 0300 0115 555. For more information go to: hertfordshirebeacon.org

For information on the charity, The Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline, go to: hertsdomesticabusehelpline.org or call 08 088 088 088