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Economic Abuse - It's Not Just a Problem on Wall Street

June 29, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Economic abuse does not define the woes of Wall Street alone. It is also happening inside some Ohio homes. But according to a new poll, the majority of Americans fail to see the connection between domestic violence and economic abuse - a tactic commonly used by an abuser to control a domestic violence victim's finances.

Nancy Neylon, executive director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, says an abuser can use economic abuse to keep a victim from leaving.

"If they can keep the victim dependent on the abuser in any way, whether it's keeping them from work or controlling them financially, that's going to be a huge barrier to leaving."

Other signs of economic abuse include racking up debt without a partner's knowledge, negatively affecting a job or forbidding a partner to earn money or attend school. Neylon says the Ohio Domestic Violence Network is educating local domestic violence programs about financial systems so they can provide victims with the resources they need to get back on their feet.

More than three-quarters of those polled believe the poor economy has made life more difficult for victims of domestic violence, and two-thirds believe it has caused an increase in domestic violence. Neylon is not surprised.

"When a family is already having difficulties and something happens, like a foreclosure or job loss, that's likely to exacerbate the violence and control that is going on in the home."

The Allstate Foundation has developed a program to help victims achieve financial independence. It is available at www.ClickToEmpower.org.



Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH