Rural Program

Rural victims of domestic/sexual violence who seek to become and remain safe from violence face geographic challenges in reaching service providers. They may need to travel great distances, and there may be limited public transportation services in their communities.  In one study, over 25% of women in small rural and isolated areas lived more than 40 miles from the closest service provider, compared to less than 1% of women in urban settings. (Source)

Program Overview


Rural Program

The Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Assistance Program (Rural Program) recognizes that victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and child sexual abuse who live in rural communities face unique challenges and barriers to receiving assistance rarely encountered in urban areas, including:

  •        Geographic isolation;
  •        Poor economic structure;
  •        Strong social and cultural pressures;
  •        Lack of available services in rural jurisdictions; and
  •        Lack of anonymity and security when seeking shelter services.

These challenges significantly compound problems facing those seeking support to end violence in their lives. They also complicate the criminal justice system’s ability to investigate and prosecute cases, and create difficulties for victim service providers to identify and assist victims.

The 2013 Reauthorization of VAWA resulted in changes to the scope of the Rural Program, which led to a revision of the progress reporting form. Read OVW’s memo on these changes.