Working to Overcome Financial Abuse
July 2018 Blog Post
A very common question asked in conversations surrounding domestic violence is “why do they stay?” This is a valid question with a very complicated answer. Numerous variables are considered when a survivor is trying to make the decision to leave their home, their relationship, and their established life. Financial stability is at top this list. 99 percent of domestic violence survivors also experience financial abuse. As with all forms of abuse, abusers use finances as a way to gain power and control over their victims.
Financial abuse can affect many aspects of a person’s ability to establish self-sufficiency. Such abuse can lead to low credit scores, poor employment histories, evictions, illness, and more. In addition, survivors are often isolated from support networks and resources by their abusers. These factors create an environment extremely vulnerable to homelessness. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV at www.nnedv.org) 63 percent of homeless women have experienced some form of domestic or sexual violence at some point in their lives.
What are some signs of financial Abuse?
- Your partner controls how all of the money is spent and you are denied access to your accounts.
- Your partner offers you a minimal allowance for food and daily expenses.
- Your partner does not allow you to work or sabotages your existing employment.
- Your partner creates a large amount of debt on joint credit cards
- Your partner purposely doesn’t pay bills and affects your ability to rent/buy a home or even hurts your credit score.
As complicated and overwhelming as this may sound, there are ways WE can support the members of our community to help them get past these challenging barriers.
- Create an open environment for conversations with survivors so their needs are heard.
- Support local organizations that provide empowering tools and support to survivors.
- Advocate for continued and/or increased funding for affordable housing resources.How can Prevail’s advocates and Self-Sufficiency Program help survivors?
- Prevail is a free, confidential, and a safe space to talk and get support.
- Provide connections to resources in the community.
- Financial, employment, and housing education resources are available.
Stephanie works with clients to help break down barriers that have historically kept victims from leaving their abuser.
Here are just a few of the things she does here at Prevail:
- Assists clients with career building by identifying and developing work readiness skills.
- Works with community partners within the business community for access to employment opportunities.
- Provides financial education via budgeting, financial goal setting, and all around financial literacy.
- Workshops include the Financial Fair and Financial Literacy.
- Offers housing resources and supports clients in planning and searching for housing options.
- Establishes and maintains relationships with community partners in the housing industry.
- Facilitates the Boundaries Support Group