Financial Abuse

Financial Abuse: the Hidden Barrier for Victims of Domestic Violence

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.” …..

“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.”