A generation ago, victims of abuse were typically afraid of coming out; scared of appearing weak, or being blamed for their mistreatment. Thanks to higher awareness, today we know how common domestic violence is. Statistics show that about 20 people are physically assaulted by an intimate partner every minute in the US. This translates to more than 10 million women and men in one year.
The Impact of Domestic Violence
1 in 4 females experiences serious physical violence, sexual violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. Such behaviors can lead to injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, and so on.
In addition, domestic abuse often involves financial control and can result in terrible financial consequences for the victim. Lots of people, especially women, feel concerned about their financial stability and are confused about what to do.
Financial abuse is manipulating a person’s capacity to obtain, use, and preserve financial resources. In other words, victims may be forbidden from working or have their money taken from them. They may also be required to justify the bare minimum of expenses. In general, an abuser takes control over a relationship if their partner is financially dependent.
As a matter of fact, 98% of domestic violence situations involve financial abuse. Unfortunately, the numbers tell a sad story:
- Each year, victims of financial abuse lose approximately 8 million days of paid employment.
- Abusers have a negative influence on 59% of their victim’s credit.
- 70% of domestic abuse victims are prohibited from working by their abusers.
In order to save their own lives, victims are most likely to leave their homes and escape. After running away from the danger, the biggest problems that domestic violence victims usually face are financial instability and homelessness.
In most abusive relationships, women usually have no or little control over their money. Economic insecurity may cause many women to remain in holding patterns with their relationships. If a woman can walk away, she may do so without a financial base. Here are some steps to help you overcome potential financial difficulties:
Review your Accounts
First of all, check all accounts and create secure copies of account information, addresses, phone numbers, and passwords. Then make duplicates of the most recent statements and balances. Now, keep these copies out of the house or scan them and save them online in a secure account that no one else can access. If at all possible, keep a cash reserve in a secure location.
Get Rid of Traces
Use the feature on your internet browser to delete your search history. That would make it harder for others to trace you or your accounts.
Also, consider changing your passwords and keeping the new ones private and unknown. It would be better if you created a new email that nobody you know has access to.
Evaluate your Finances
Making a plan for housing, healthcare, and other challenges is essential at this point. It is tough to escape a bad situation if you do not have an appropriate or safe place to go.
Survivors who were receiving healthcare via their partner will lose that coverage when they depart, so be sure you understand your insurance. In this article we will show you where to find financial support, so keep reading.
How to Get Financial Assistance
Survivors of domestic violence can receive financial aid and support from a variety of resources. There are a lot of available resources and programs for housing, medical, legal, and nutritional needs.
One significant hurdle for survivors of violence is a lack of safe and affordable housing. Women frequently find it difficult to escape if they do not have a secure place to go. It is best to start preparing and securing your housing options before you leave, whether it is temporary or permanent.
Temporary Housing Solutions
Temporary housing, a.k.a. transitional housing, is short-term accommodation with support services that meet the urgent needs of a victim. The federal government, local governments, non-profit organizations, and charities all provide transitional housing support.
Domestic abuse programs around the country have adopted multiple transitional housing solutions such as:
- scattered-site models;
- cluster models;
- communal models.
These solutions provide survivors with a secure place to reside while they prepare themselves for permanent housing. The following are some useful resources to think about:
- DomesticShelters.org: A huge database that contains tons of 24/7 hotlines and info on emergency shelters across the country. Searching is available in a variety of languages, including Spanish and Chinese.
- 211: A helpful online database to find local domestic abuse shelters in your region. It also includes contact information for the shelter as well as more details on the types of housing available.
- FVPSA: The Family Violence Prevention and Services Program aims to help victims of domestic abuse and their dependents access immediate shelter and other associated services.
Independent Housing Solutions
By independent housing, we mean housing that is not part of an assistance program. It is a suitable option for survivors who already have a financial base.
In case you intend to rent, you may need to get renters insurance. It will protect you and your belongings in the case of a fire, vandalism, or other unexpected disasters.
If you are thinking about buying a house, look into popular home loans like conventional, FHA, and USDA loans. You should also go over mortgage rates, to get a better understanding of what your total anticipated mortgage payments would be.
It is also necessary to plan for homeowner’s insurance. By shopping around online or calling different providers for estimates, you can find the best homeowners insurance.
Food assistance programs can help a survivor and her children meet their nutritional needs. People in most communities have various programs and services available locally. Even if the assistance is provided by a federal program, churches, charities, and nonprofits in the local community will provide these services.
WIC: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is a federal program that helps women get food. WIC provides food, health care referrals, and nutrition counseling through state programs to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, along with infants and children up to the age of five. The majority of states also operate their own food stamp and food voucher programs.
SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a government program that offers women and low-income families a supplemental budget to purchase food. Women in emergency or domestic violence shelters are eligible for the support.
Medical and Mental Health Support
An intimate relationship has hurt more than 50% of the women examined by mental health experts. Domestic abuse can cause post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and other health problems. Women can seek medical and mental health care in a variety of options.
Medicaid: It is a health insurance program funded by the federal government that offers coverage to low-income people. Medicaid can help runaway women get low-cost basic, preventative, specialist, and long-term care services.
CHIP: Children’s Health Insurance Program provides low-cost health care coverage to children whose families may earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Each state has its own set of eligibility standards.
National Center for Victims of Crime: This non-profit organization collaborates with local, state, and federal institutions to advocate for victims and train professionals to provide assistance. It also provides medical and mental health resources and support.
In addition to the previous solutions, some comprehensive programs are also available like TANF. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program provides some really helpful services like:
- Financial assistance;
- Social support services;
- Meals to pregnant women and individuals who are responsible for kids under the age of 19.
To qualify for this program you must be:
- A U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident.
- Living in the state in which you are applying.
- Underemployed or jobless, and have low or very low income.
You also have to be at least 18 years old and the head of your home, or pregnant, or have a child who is 18 years old or younger.
In short, domestic abuse affects people of all races, ages, and genders. Physical, verbal, emotional, and psychic violence are all forms of abuse. However, financial abuse is one of the most typical reasons that push the victims to stay or return to their toxic partners.
Feeling financially secure can help you make the decision of escaping domestic violence. There are a million ways to get assistance, so you do not have to feel alone.
- Financial Help for Women Experiencing Domestic Violence | MoneyGeek.com
- Our Services – Family Violence Prevention Services
- Family Violence Prevention Services
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) | Food and Nutrition Service
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Eligibility Requirements | HealthCare.gov