Domestic violence is the abuse of a partner or spouse and can appear in many layers: physical, emotional, and financial. Financial abuse appears in 99% of domestic violence cases and is used by the abuser to control the victim’s ability to escape by acquiring, using, and maintain financial resources.
Financial abuse and its identifiers are less commonly understood, but it can be one of the largest reasons victims are trapped in an abusive relationship. Their own money can be restricted or stolen by their abuser. Their credit can be used without their permission and abusers may actively destroy it so that they will not be able to recover financially. Abusers cause victims to not have complete access to money and other resources. When they do have money, their abusers will force them to account for every penny spent which makes it difficult for a victim to save enough money to escape. Since victims are unable to provide financially for themselves and their children, the looming possibility of homelessness if they escape can be the defining factor as to why many stay with their abusive partners as well as why many return to the relationship.
The impact of financial abuse can be devasting. Victims can feel vulnerable without access to money, credit cards, and other financial assets. Once they escape, the aftereffects will continue to follow them through ruined credit scores, overwhelming debt, and mounting legal issues caused by years of financial abuse. Some abusers will force the victim to stop working in order to restrict the access to money further. This can make it difficult for a victim to return to their career field due to spotty employment records.
Overall, financial abuse is very isolating because victims often become financially dependent on their abusers which in turn traps them in the relationship or causes them to return once they have escaped. YWCA never wants a woman to return to their abuser nor force themselves to stay due to financial insecurity. Escaping an abusive relationship takes great strength and we want them to be able to continue with safety and stability.
YWCA helps women become financially independent by teaching the skills needed to correct the financial damage left behind by their abusers. Our financial coaches work with women on a one-to-one basis to help them complete their goals and regain financial stability for themselves and their children. We continuously offer our financial classes to the public and are always looking for new financial resources for the community. In October, YWCA is working with the Financial Planning Association of Greater Phoenix and W!SE (Working in Support of Education) to offer a new financial series: MoneyW!SE.
MoneyW!SE is a total of 12 session financial literacy certification course. This course is equipped with the financial knowledge many need to secure their own personal finances. If you or a loved one want to learn more on how you can take control of your money, please join us for MoneyW!SE. You can sign up for any of our other financial classes or ask to speak with a financial coach.