Seeing, Naming and Changing Intimate Partner Violence in Rural Communities

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day to both celebrate the progress made towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment and to call for action towards greater gender equality.

This International Women’s Day, we are focusing on supporting women in rural and remote communities. Between 20-30% of Canada’s population lives in rural areas, yet public policy and community services all too often focus on the needs of those living in urban areas. Location affects every aspect of people’s lives: education, housing, employment, health care and more.

Rural Roots

In our continued commitment to supporting all women subjected to intimate partner violence, we are excited to share Rural Roots: Seeing, Naming and Changing Intimate Partner Violence in Rural Communities. Working with Lanark County Interval House (LCIH), this collaborative initiative led by our friends at Neighbours, Friends and Families (a program of Western University’s Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children) builds on an earlier resource developed by Luke’s Place, Going the Distance: Supporting rural and remote survivors with family law issues. Learn more about this week’s launch of Rural Roots.

Born from a commitment to address intimate partner violence (IPV) in rural areas, Rural Roots will equip individuals with the knowledge and tools to support survivors within their rural communities. Rural Roots strives to bridge gaps in understanding and support for survivors of IPV in rural communities and empowers individuals to take meaningful action through a simple framework: See it, Name it, Check it.

  • See it: be aware of common warning signs of IPV so you know it when you see it
  • Name it: for what it is, to yourself, and to the person you are concerned about
  • Check it: for danger, for yourself, and reach out for community expertise

Our Advocacy Director, Pamela Cross, shares more about Rural Roots in her recent blog post.

Supporting women in rural & remote communities

Women who have been or are currently being subjected to violence are affected significantly by where they live. While formally family law is the same everywhere in Ontario, there are significant practical differences for women who live in rural and remote communities. We explore some of these differences in great detail on, a web-based version of our family court survival workbook for women leaving abusive relationships. 

Throughout our nearly 24-year history we have collaborated with partners in rural and remote communities to understand their realities and needs. In fact, the virtual services of our Legal Clinic were originally created to partner with women’s organizations in rural and remote Ontario communities to connect women with family law lawyers trained in providing effective lawyering for women leaving violence. This is still a fundamental component of our legal clinic and virtual service delivery. Prioritizing rural and underserved communities, we bring our training and education programs to more than 1000+ women’s service providers and advocates across Canada each year through both in-person and virtual opportunities.

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of rural survivors of IPV. On this International Women’s Day, join us in championing women’s safety, support, and empowerment within our communities.