Economic abuse exists in approximately 98% of all domestic violence situations.
What is economic abuse? Economic abuse can come in the form of a partner that forbids you to work outside of the home. Or maybe you are able to work, but your partner has complete control over your earnings. It can be when you have to account for every penny you spend and ask for money for even the most basic necessities. It's not having your own bank account or debit card; it's when your partner maxes out your credit cards and runs your credit score into the ground.
Whatever form it takes, economic control is one more way to keep someone in an abusive relationship. This is especially true when there are children involved, and the fear of poverty and homelessness loom large.
That's why fostering financial independence is such a central part of URI’s support of survivors. We work with clients one-on-one to assess their financial history and current situation, their work experience, skills and interests, and together we develop a plan to get them on track to self-sufficiency and economic empowerment and stability. Survivors who have longstanding financial issues work with our Legal Education and Advocacy Program (LEAP) to address credit and debt issues that could have a long-term impact on their financial stability and ability to obtain permanent housing.
A critical element of URI's economic empowerment program is the Working Internship Network (WIN). WIN gives participants an opportunity to learn marketable skills and gain experience in professional work environments with the ultimate goal of empowering survivors to maintain their independence and freedom from abuse. Participants go through an intensive multi-week course where they receive professional development training, work on their resumes, learn where to search for employment opportunities and how to navigate a job interview. WIN participants are then placed in paid internships based on their skills and interests and receive ongoing support and guidance throughout their internship.
Those who have gone through the WIN program consistently say that the experience built their confidence in their abilities and future. For many of our survivors, this is the first time they have had the opportunity to focus on a career.
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