Economic Empowerment Project

Economic Empowerment Project

The Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence (AzCADV) began its Economic Empowerment Project in October 2011.Thanks to the Allstate Foundation, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), and the Verizon Foundation, advocates statewide have been trained to provide economic and career education and advocacy to domestic violence victims and survivors. Utilizing a train-the-trainer approach, AzCADV provides training across the state to domestic violence programs, shelters, and community organizations with the option for technical assistance, as needed. Through the project, AzCADV works closely with domestic violence programs that provide information to survivors through an economic empowerment curriculum, a career empowerment curriculum, direct assistance funds to help them in achieving their education and employment goals, matched savings programs, banking support, technology resources, and much more. The goal of the project is to strengthen advocates’ financial capabilities to better assist survivors of domestic violence move from short-term safety to long-term security, and to economically sustainable, independent lives.

What is Economic Abuse?

Economic abuse is a commonly used tactic to gain power and control over an intimate partner. Like other types of abuse, it typically begins subtly and progresses over time. Economic are intentional tactics used with the purpose to entrap a partner in the relationship. Economic abuse takes many forms such as controlling how money is spent, withholding money or “giving an allowance”, not allowing a significant other to work or forcing a significant other to work; or stealing identity, money, credit or property.

A survivor may not be aware that they have been subjected to economic abuse until they attempt to open a credit card, apply for a loan, or run a credit check. In order to secure employment, housing, insurance, and loans, among other things, this form of abuse presents significant barriers to survivors’ efforts at achieving and maintaining independence. Not only does economic abuse interfere with their ability to obtain lines of credit or loans, but there are also serious implications for survivors’ immediate and long term safety as economic and financial concerns are identified as common reasons for remaining in, or returning to, an abusive relationship.

What Does a Healthy Financial Relationship Look Like?

In order to understand financially abusive relationships we must also examine what constitute a healthy financial relationship. Characteristics of a healthy financial relationship may include:

  • Both partners having access to financial statements although one partner might manage bill paying
  • Couples identifying when they have different values about money and negotiating financial goals
  • Both partners recognizing and respecting that decision-making is equal regardless of who earns more income
  • Each partner having  access to money on their own
  • Both partners are knowledgeable how money is spent

For financial resources for survivors and advocates, please visit our domestic violence online resources page here and scroll to the bottom.

Economic Empowerment Project Curriculum

The Allstate Foundation Moving Ahead Through Financial Management curriculum is designed to assist survivors of domestic violence manage the often times complicated challenges they may encounter while seeking assistance, while in crisis, and during transition. The curriculum explores financial concepts which are essential to increasing financial literacy, and ultimately achieving financial independence. The curriculum was developed to provide survivors with:

  • Resources to strengthen survivor confidence in order to take action and strategies to address the financial and safety challenges of ending a relationship with an intimate partner;
  • Information to better understand the difference between assets and income, as well as debts and liabilities;
  • Ideas to access credit reports and suggestions on how to review and improve credit scores;
  • Strategies to identify various financial paperwork and recall the various loan and housing options available to survivors; and
  • Tactics to understand financial fundamentals and basic steps to building a strong financial base, including budgeting, saving, building credit, and managing debt.

The Career Empowerment curriculum was designed by Women Employed and The Allstate Foundation particularly for survivors of domestic violence and fully acknowledges the particular challenges that survivors often face. The curriculum refers to many different career types – blue collar and white collar – and is relevant for survivors with any skill set.

The curriculum covers five key topics:

  1. Being Safe During the Job Search and at Work
  2. Choosing and Planning for the Career You Want
  3. Getting Started in Your Career
  4. Preparing for Your Job Search
  5. Sharing Information and Communicating throughout the Job Search and at Work

About Our Corporate Partners

The Allstate Foundation

In 2005, the Allstate Foundation joined with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) to bring financial education, matched savings programs, job readiness and job training and microenterprise opportunities to survivors of domestic violence. Working with community partners across the country, the foundation makes long-term security a reality for survivors. They are committed to helping survivors build their financial skills as a way to escape abusive relationships, get safe, stay safe and thrive.

The Allstate Foundation is committed to using financial empowerment strategies to end the cycle of violence because research shows that financial dependency is the strongest predictor of a survivor’s decision to remain, leave or return to an abusive relationship – even stronger than physical safety issues.

(Adapted from The Allstate Foundation website http://www.allstatefoundation.org/domestic-violence-program.)

Verizon Wireless

Verizon’s goal is to increase awareness of domestic violence and its repercussions, engage men and young people in the issue and lend its resources and technology to help victims and their families. Over the past few years, the Verizon Foundation has contributed more than $39 million to various domestic violence prevention grants.

Verizon’s efforts in the areas of education, awareness, and prevention have included:

  • Partnering with the NFL Players Association and A Call to Men to provide domestic violence prevention training and information to teenagers in the association’s “Training Camp for Life” program.
  • Teaming up with sportscaster James Brown to conduct a national campaign promoting respect and equality in an effort to end domestic violence.
  • Telling Amy’s Story”, a Verizon-funded documentary about Amy McGee, a young Pennsylvania mother — and Verizon employee — who was killed by her abusive husband, has been a catalyst to raise awareness and open discussion.
  • In consultation with the New York Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Verizon is funding entrepreneurship training programs to provide training and support to help domestic violence survivors start a small business.
  • The Hopeline phone program has collected over 8 million no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories, getting them into the hands of domestic violence programs and survivors. The Hopeline phones have also provided more than 87 million free minutes of wireless service.

(Adapted from the Verizon Wireless website http://responsibility.verizon.com/domestic-violence-prevention.)