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Taking control of one’s own financial matters is a valuable life skill for everyone to accomplish, but it’s especially important for survivors of violence. Not knowing how to access or manage one’s money can keep a survivor dependent on an abusive partner.
“We know it’s been statistically proven that access to financial resources is going to keep you in an abusive relationship or it’s going to allow you to leave, let you stay out and not go back,” says Kyle Donash, media relations and issues management with Allstate Insurance Company. In 2005, Allstate partnered with the National Network to End Domestic Violence to create a free financial empowerment program for survivors of abuse.
“The reason we got involved is because no one at the time, to our knowledge, was doing work domestic violence survivors from a financial empowerment perspective,” says Donash, who says that financial abuse is often times intricately tied physical violence. Financial abuse can involve an abuser preventing their partner from accessing personal financial documents, withholding important financial information or taking out credit cards in the survivor’s name and not telling them, sometimes ruining their credit in the process. “It’s all part of the power and control scenario,” says Donash.
The program is currently being used by more than 4,600 domestic violence advocates and more than 1,700 local programs in all 50 states, according to Donash. “It’s a curriculum that’s fantastic for survivors, but it’s such a good financial recap of things everyone should just be keeping in mind."
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