“Popular Questions About the Implications of Economic Abuse”
What exactly is economic abuse?
Economic abuse involves a situation in which an individual maintains overwhelming control over financial access and resources. The perpetrator or abuser will also prevent the victim or survivor from working or getting an education. This is an attempt to create a strong sense of dependency within the victim.
How does economic abuse manifest?
Many individuals will be victims of economic abuse as a result of the forced financial dependency created by the abuser. This situation will force the individual to either flee the abusive relationship and wind up homeless, or in most cases have to be tied down to the abusive relationship. Victims often stay in abusive relationships due to economic abuse and its many forms like coerced debt and lack of accessible funds.
How prevalent is economic abuse Statistically speaking, an average of 96% of domestic abuse survivors have also experienced economic abuse and an average of 40% of these individuals have also lost their jobs as a result (32,000 yearly). In previous years, about 130,000 victims of stalking were asked to leave their jobs as a result. Generally, studies demonstrate that about 50% of sexual assault survivors lost or left their jobs after the fact.
What should you do if found in this situation?
If found in this situation, individuals should ensure their financial records and whereabouts are kept private. Emergency documents and copies should be kept with trusted family members and extra money should be kept in a safe place. If finances are controlled by the abusive partner, victims should find ways to gain access to financial information. Finally, if the individual decides to leave the relationship, he or she should calculate independent living costs and set money aside in order to do so. Victims may look into programs that will assist in leaving this situation and speak with trusted individuals for help.
Why should we be concerned about economic abuse?
Though it does happen, many victims are not able to just leave their abusive partners. Oftentimes those who do leave, are pushed or forced to go back for economic reasons. It is important that members of society support victims with open arms and plenty of resources to help combat their situation because their abuser hinders their ability to seek help on their own. Barriers to economic independence and coerced debt can make conditions harder for victims to support themselves and find jobs, so we can all provide programs and support to assist in recovery.
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