5 Financial Challenges Facing Survivors of Domestic Abuse

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By Susan Johnston Taylor

Nearly 1 in 4 adult women and 1 in 7 adult men in the U.S. have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of course, domestic abuse can also involve patterns of emotional, spiritual, reproductive or financial abuse, and different forms of abuse often overlap.

“It’s about maintaining power and control,” says Kirstin Kelley, who works as an advocate and overnight crisis line specialist for Call to Safety, formerly called the Portland Women’s Crisis Line, in Portland, Oregon. “A lot of abusers are going to use some combination of methods.” Kelley adds.

Unfortunately, leaving an abusive marriage or relationship often leaves survivors in a more precarious financial position than they were before. “There really is no safety for survivors without access to economic security,” says Erika Sussman, founder and executive director of the Center for Survivor Agency and Justice, a national organization that focuses on the connection between economic hardship and domestic violence

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