Financial Abuse: the Hidden Barrier for Victims of Domestic Violence
April 26, 2013
NNEDV promotes economic empowerment work through Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill
Bruises, broken bones and psychological scars are what most people think about when they hear of domestic violence. What many don't know is that victims of domestic violence often suffer overwhelming financial losses caused by an intimate partner.
Forcing the victim to leave job after job, getting her fired, running up high family debt, and hiding or stealing joint assets raise barriers for a woman trying to break free. The result of financial abuse can be damaged work histories, ruined credit scores, homelessness, and sometimes, abject poverty. This makes it hard to leave an abusive relationship and for those who do manage to escape, the financial damage can last for years; long after the bruises have healed.
"It can be a devastating situation," said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). "Some victims, whose credit and employment opportunities have been ruined by their abusers, are essentially forced to choose between food and shelter for themselves and their children and protecting their personal safety. It is a choice that no one should have to make."
Through our economic empowerment work in partnership with The Allstate Foundation, NNEDV brings critical resources and information to domestic violence victims and the advocates who work with them. We provide education on financial topics such as budgeting, credit and credit repair, loans and long-term savings and investment strategies. The information and resources are geared toward those who have experienced domestic and financial abuse, helping to ensure short and long term safety and security. To date, more than 215,000 people have benefitted from the work of NNEDV and The Allstate Foundation.
On Friday, April 26, NNEDV and The Allstate Foundation will be part of the 11th annual Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill, which features an open-house exhibition of financial literacy products, programs and initiatives of businesses, non-profit organizations, trade associations and government agencies.
"The impact of domestic violence on a victim often goes far beyond the physical abuse," said Vicky Dinges, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Allstate. "Time and again, we see victims who suffer not only physical trauma from their abuser but are often isolated economically as well. The financial issues that victims face feed the vicious cycle where victims feel unable to leave an abusive relationship or find themselves in very difficult life circumstances when they do. Our work to raise awareness of this critical issue before policymakers and other key stakeholders is part of our broad effort to increase support for those facing these terrible situations."
NNEDV and The Allstate Foundation will be available throughout the event to talk about the economic empowerment curriculum and other resources that have been developed to help combat financial abuse. NNEDV will also be highlighting the financial literacy work being done in the states and communities represented by Members of Congress in 19 states.