Population considerations

  • Underreporting. According to Annan (2006), people who live in rural areas often fail to report sexual assault because of concerns about confidentiality. Some individuals may also be concerned that reporting the crime will cause them to miss work or will cause them to have an unaffordable hospital bill.
  • Limited resources. In rural areas, community members may not have access to communication tools or transportation, which makes it difficult for victims of sexual assault to access care and preventive services (Annan, 2006). 
  • Availability of services. Many rural communities lack trained therapists and counselors necessary to effectively handle the incidence of sexual assault (Ray, 1990). Likewise, communities with limited resources may choose to focus funds and staff on other health issues. In many rural areas, communities fail to see a value of social services directed towards sexual assault (Ray, 1990).

  Strategies to address these considerations

  • Coordinate services. Coordination of existing services in rural areas may be helpful in handling the issue of access to care due to lack of trained professionals and limited resources.
  • Increase community awareness. Providing community-based education programs that use different forms of media to disseminate information about sexual assault may improve community attitudes. Include provider training and coordinate with the police, medical community and schools, especially when dealing with children as victims in rural areas (Ray, 1990).

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