On 24th May 2016 Baroness Stedman-Scott asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to help families in rural communities experiencing domestic abuse and other relationship problems.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, following on from that point about isolation, with rural areas often isolated from dedicated support services, local clergy can be particularly well placed to act as a conduit between victims and the relevant authorities. Can the Minister inform the House whether any steps are being taken to provide training to local professionals in rural communities, such as clergy and GPs, to help improve reporting and communication and to ensure that victims receive the help they need?
Lord Keen of Elie: One of the difficulties in rural communities is often that victims will not come forward, even to their general practitioner, for fear that knowledge of their situation will become more widespread. They are concerned by that. That is why we are advancing the national statement of expectations as a blueprint for rural and urban areas in order to bring together a partnership of health experts, social workers, the police and the Church.