WOMEN ARE increasingly calling the Rural Stress Information Network‘s helpline to talk about family and domestic violence.

During the last three months RSIN received well in excess of 120 calls per week to its helpline, with over 70% of callers being women.

This level of calls has not been seen since the later stages of the foot-and-mouth crisis in 2001. Six months ago the charity received 60-70 calls a week.

James Morrish, RSIN promotions officer, said: “Calls relating to family and domestic violence are now received on a regular basis.

“Many of them are very complex and involve a number of issues which cause stress and upset either to individuals or to the family as a whole.”

Mr Morrish said domestic violence was something that most people in farming barely thought about, but RSIN was getting three to four calls a week about it.

Women also needed to unburden themselves about personal relationships, as many felt isolated because they were stuck on the farm, perhaps with young children, he said.

Mr Morrish said business problems were still very high on the agenda of many callers but they were not just concerned about debts.

“Problems over planning, health and safety and government regulations are very evident in what people are telling us,” he said.

“When added to the way in which the industry will change over the next few years, it sometimes becomes too much to handle.”

The RSIN provides a listening and signposting service for callers through its helpline on 02476 412916.