The impact of sexual abuse in regional Victoria

La Trobe University, in partnership with Centre Against Sexual Violence Central Victoria (CASA-CV), has released the findings of an important study highlighting the struggles of rural and regional victim survivors in the pursuit of justice.

This research, conducted in a collaboration between the two organisations, highlights the unique experiences and obstacles that survivors in regional and rural areas face.  

Recent La Trobe PhD student Dr Emily Corbett conducted the comprehensive industry-based study to examine the sexual revictimisation of rural and regional women, and her findings will inform future research, practice and policy recommendations.

Dr Corbett said that while research shows women subjected to child sex abuse had a higher risk of suffering sexual abuse in adulthood, little research has been done on this topic in non-urban areas.

“We know from existing research that experiences of violence in childhood and adulthood are frequent among non-urban women, and that women who experience family or sexual violence when they are young, often experience violence again in adulthood. Our study sought to better understand why this revictimisation occurs,” Dr Corbett said.  

“We found that many regional and rural women face significant structural disadvantage including low levels of employment and income, limited-service sector resources, unsafe family environments, and exposure to community violence. Violence can be perpetuated due to social isolation, lack of transport options, and limited awareness and education about sexual or family violence. The close-knit nature of small communities can create barriers to women seeking help,” Dr Corbett said.

This research is the culmination of a three-and-a-half year study conducted by Dr Corbett whose research was funded via scholarship through the La Trobe Research Industry Partnership and CASA-CV.

"We are pleased to share the results of this significant study, which not only contributes to the evidence base but also has real-world implications for preventing and supporting survivors of sexual violence in regional and rural Victoria,” said Kate Wright, CEO at the Centre Against Sexual Violence Central Victoria.

“This research would not have been possible without the crucial contribution from the women who participated in the research. We thank them for sharing their knowledge and experiences.”

Media Contact:
Jess Whitty – 0481 383 817