Rural realities faced by service providers and women survivors of intimate partner violence when navigating the justice system

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Intimate partner violence (IPV), including physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse is a reality that affects the lives of many women. Since the 1970s, advocates have debated the effective responses to intimate partner violence. Various government departments and community organizations have responded differently to the issue. Some approaches were the creation of transition houses, second stage housing, and multidisciplinary committees on family violence. The criminal justice system responded through legislation, law enforcement policies, and treatment programs for violent individuals, as well as specialized justice processes for promoting and coordinating practices across justice and human services systems (Gill and Thériault, 2010). Yet, even with these changes, the majority of IPV still goes unreported. In order to address the problem of underreporting and to offer better supports to IPV survivors, it is imperative to learn from the experiences of women who have sought help through formal systems, especially the justice system.