Financial abuse is one of the most powerful methods of keeping a survivor trapped in an abusive relationship and deeply diminishes the ability to stay safe after leaving the relationship.
Research indicates that financial abuse is evident in 98% of abusive relationships. Surveys of survivors reflect that concerns over their ability to provide financially for themselves and their children was among the main reasons for staying in or returning to an abusive relationship. As with all forms of abuse, it occurs across all socio-economic, educational, racial and ethnic groups.
The short and long-term impact of financial abuse can be devastating. Short-term impact can hinder a victim’s ability to find work, pay for everyday bills, access a bank account or credit card, and attain the skills of budgeting. When access to assets is denied, short term can evolve into a long-term situation. The long-term ramifications of continuous financial abuse is withholding assets, survivors are often unable to obtain safe and affordable housing or the funds to provide for themselves or their children. With realistic fears of homelessness, it is little wonder that survivors sometimes return to or remain with their abuser.
Those who manage to escape the abuse and survive initially often face overwhelming odds in obtaining financial sustainability. Ruined credit scores, sporadic employment histories and legal issues caused by the legality of domestic abuse/battery make it extremely difficult to gain independence, attain safety, and long-term security.
Financial instability is one of the largest obstacles survivors seeking safety and independence must overcome along with one of the most common reasons survivors give for justification as to why they stay or have returned to their abuser. The ability to survive financially without the abuser presents challenges, whether it be due to loss of income, a place to live, childcare, healthcare, and other money issues including access to credit. Advocating for economic justice strategies can improve the many social conditions that prevent safety for survivors. Safe options to addressing some of these challenges include making informed decisions about how to avoid predatory lending and consumer scams, building good credit, accessing resources for affordable housing, financial education and for building assets through savings, homeownership or entrepreneurship.
The Economic Empowerment program at Help Now of Osceola, Inc. was created to assist survivors of domestic violence that are dealing with Financial Abuse. The program will help survivors regain their financial independence while learning the financial skills to maintain self-sufficiency. If you or someone you know is experiencing economic abuse, we are here to help.
For Additional Information please contact Deisha Rodriguez or Shana Barnes with Help Now of Osceola, Inc.
Advocates are available from 8:00am-5pm Monday-Friday. After business hours please contact Help Now 24 Hour Crisis Line at 407-847-8562 TTY:407-846-2472
*Information adapted from FCADV Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence & NNEDV National Network to End Domestic Violence.