Advocates say domestic violence victims often stay in abusive relationships because they lack financial freedom. Florida’s CFO Jeff Atwater discussed the issue Wednesday with Tiffany Carr, President of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Domestic violence carries physical and emotional scars, but Carr says it often has financial stakes as well.
“The abuser typically has control of the finances,” she says. “So she hasn’t had access to a checking account, savings account, he’s managed all the money, he’s not wanted her to work. You know it’s all those things that lead to independence.”
Carr says with limited financial prospects, many survivors feel trapped—worried how they will provide for themselves or their children.
And the prevalence is staggering.
According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence more than 90 percent of abuse survivors suffered some kind of economic abuse.
“Survivors of domestic violence are courageous and brave,” CFO Atwater says. “It’s important to me not only as your Chief Financial Officer, but I would say as importantly as a husband and as a father to provide financial resources that can overcome the financial abuse that comes with domestic violence.”
Carr and Atwater are raising awareness for a web-based tool called Your LIFE—or learn individual financial empowerment. The goal is to give survivors all the tools they need to start over.