Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence show that nearly 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence, and of women experiencing sexual violence, over half experience it in their own homes. So why don’t they just leave? Domestic violence has many layers that make it difficult for victims to seek help. Stigma and lack of awareness in helping professions (police, doctors, etc) are two factors, but often victims stay in violent relationships over fear for their children’s safety and security. They may also worry about their finances.
Domestic violence encompasses many forms of abuse – sexual, emotional, psychological, physical, and financial. While less commonly understood than other forms of abuse, financial abuse is one of the most powerful methods of keeping a victim trapped in an abusive relationship. Lack of financial resources can impact a person’s ability to petition for children, can interfere with jobs, and can reduce access to lifesaving medical assistance.
In a study by Worthy, a majority of women surveyed said their biggest financial fear regarding divorce was living on one income.
Financial abuse comes in many different forms. The most common form is when an abuser exploits the resources of their victim. Some examples of this exploitation include:
Abusers can also attempt to interfere with their victim’s jobs in hopes of reducing their income, threatening their job stability, and negatively impacting their self-sufficiency and mental health. Some examples of job interference include:
While threatening job stability can lead to loss of wages, many abusers do it as a form of psychological abuse, a way to make victims feel powerless, even if they have a job they are good at and would otherwise enjoy.
Another form of abuse can be when an abuser tries to control shared finances. This can include:
“I know you’re under a lot of stress right now so why don’t you just let me take care of the finances and I’ll give you money each week to take care of what you need.”
While GLS can assist with many legal matters directly related to domestic violence such as Injunctions for Protection, U-Visas for Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence, Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage), and Spousal and/or Child Support, we can also assist with many related matters, including:
Human Rights & Immigration
In 2017, GLS helped 410 victims of crime, and 1382 clients struggling to maintain financial stability. You can learn more about our family law/domestic violence unit here, and our financial stability unit here.