Financial Literacy/Economic Justice Program
The Betty Griffin Center’s Financial Literacy/Economic Justice Program was introduced in 2017 to help survivors who are in the shelter program achieve financial liberation and independence through coursework on budgeting, retirement and family planning.
Coordinated by Barbara Preston, the program provides group workshops, classes and one-on-one counseling to assist shelter participants by request – who each receive a Certification of Completion by successfully managing the six classroom components of the program.
Why this Program is Needed
According to recent research, financial abuse is experienced in 99 percent of people involved in abusive relationships – and that lack of financial independence is also a major obstacle that victims must overcome while they’re trying to remove themselves from abusive relationships.
The short- and long-term effects of financial abuse can be devastating.
In the short-term, a victim’s access to their assets is imperative to staying safe. Without assets, survivors are often unable to obtain safe and affordable housing or the funds to provide for themselves or their children. Faced with the very real fear of homelessness, it is little wonder that survivors sometimes return to an abusive partner.
For those who manage to escape the abuse and survive initially, they often face overwhelming challenges in obtaining long-term security and safety. The majority are left with ruined credit scores, sporadic employment histories and legal issues caused by the abuse – which make it extremely difficult to gain independence, safety and long-term security.
More About Financial/Economic Abuse
Financial abuse, also known as economic abuse, is one of the barriers that prevents victims from gaining freedom and independence. Survivors of abusive relationships consistently say that concerns over their ability to provide for themselves and/or their children financially was among the top reasons they remained in a battering relationship.
In the cycle of financial/economic abuse, abusers take charge of the victim’s finances to gain control over their life.
In addition, they often attempt to sabotage the victim’s credit score in several ways, including:
- Forcing the partner to open a new account in their name, and then creating large debt in the account
- Overcharging credit cards
- Denying access to their own savings accounts and/or combined savings accounts
By lowering the victim’s credit score, it affects that person’s ability to rent an apartment, obtain a new credit card with low APR, buy a car, or even get a job.
Being financially educated can help provide stability for the victim during and after the relationship.
Obtaining financial literacy can help people find ways of improving their credit score, save more, and achieve financial comfort.