Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor



Domestic violence occurs throughout the United States and has been cited as a major social and health problem, yet most studies have not focused on domestic violence in rural areas. In order to understand if rural women are able to receive the services they need, I propose to answer five research questions using data from Illinois: (1) Does the availability of services for victims of domestic violence vary by the degree of rurality of the county? (2) Are measures of social disorganization (poverty, racial heterogeneity, and residential stability) at the county level correlated with the availability of victim services for urban and rural counties? (3) Are measures of cultural factors at the county level correlated with the availability of victim services for urban and rural counties? (4) Is domestic violence and victim need, as reported by the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and as measured by orders of protection, as prevalent in rural counties as in urban counties? (5) Do measures of rurality (such as population density), social disorganization measures at the county and place level, rural cultural factors, or victim need better determine the current availability of services? The main goal of my research is to analyze whether domestic violence emergency services are available where the greatest need is located. I will analyze the Uniform Crime Reports domestic violence counts and the distribution of orders of protections from 39 counties in Illinois to analyze the societal and cultural level variables that may predict need for services and availability of services. From there I will analyze the distribution of domestic violence programs, hospitals, police, and sheriff's offices.




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