Many of you are aware that October is national domestic violence awareness month and to help bring awareness to that cause CCCS held a speaking event. We wanted to share the information from our presentation earlier this month about financial abuse and how big of an issue money is in some domestic abuse situations.
First, the definition of domestic violence, according to justice.gov, is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
There are many ways besides just hitting a significant other that is considered domestic violence. Here are some statistics to keep in mind while reading this article because this is a large issue in so many communities.
- On average it takes women 7 incidents of violence to leave an abusive relationship
- 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence
- 98% of all abuse situations involve financial abuse
- Number 1 reason victims don’t leave is due to financial abuse.
The definition of financial abuse, according to purplepurse.com, is anything that prevents victims from acquiring, using or maintaining financial resources. Abusers employ isolating tactics such as preventing their spouse or partner from working or accessing a bank, credit card or transportation. They might tightly monitor and restrict their partner’s spending. Victims of financial abuse live a controlled life where they have been purposely put into a position of dependence, making it hard for the victim to break free.
Here are some warning signs that you or someone you know might be a victim of financial abuse:
- Forced career choices or they won’t let you work
- No bank accounts, debit card, or savings
- Threats of leaving knowing she/he cannot support herself
- Not given any control over finances or financial decisions
- Forces you to commit financial fraud
- Runs up large debts in your name
- Ruins your credit-but not theirs
- Makes you show receipts every time you spend money
If you are in this situation, here are some tips on what to do:
- Reach out to trusted friends, relatives or a local church who many be able to house you until you’re able to get on your feet.
- Skim money from whatever is given to you and save little by little. Every bit adds up. Open a bank account in secret and stash your money until you’re ready to leave.
- Get a job in secret. For example you can say that you’re volunteering and get a PT job walking dogs or babysitting while he/she is away or working during the day.
- Establish credit. Get a secured card that you keep only at a friend’s or family member’s house in a locked box. Use it to make purchases while building your credit.
- Research all options about government assistance on food stamps, housing and community-based services or call 211
Not in the situation yourself but you know someone who is? There are still some ways that you can help:
- Offer support without judgment or criticism
- Respect the decisions made even if you don’t agree
- Help to recognize the signs of domestic violence and financial abuse
- Show concern for his or her safety
- Let them know the number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
- Call 211 for local help
Please also feel free to reach out to our office if you need any assistance with any financial issues. We take pride in providing services to our community and we want everyone to be safe.