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Poll: Economic Abuse Overlooked as Form of Domestic Abuse

July 15, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. - The economic crisis has put financial strains on many families, and that can lead to a form of domestic abuse that's fiscal, not physical.

While 76 percent of Americans believe the bad economy is making it more difficult for victims of domestic violence, a new national poll shows almost the same number of people fail to see economic maltreatment as a form of abuse, a tactic used by abusers to control the finances of their partners to prevent them from leaving dangerous relationships.

Ammie Moore, executive director of the violence-prevention group SafeHome in Covington, Va., says such economic abuse is, unfortunately, quite common.

"We see folks across the state who are not allowed to work, or if they do work, then the money is under the control of the perpetrator."

Moore says all forms of abuse are about control.

"Blocking access to money or other financial resources definitely hinders a person from being able to leave an abusive relationship."

SafeHome works with those affected by domestic violence and runs a 30-day emergency shelter for all affected by domestic abuse.

And Moore urges anyone who feels that they don't have a voice at home to call the confidential Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline - 1-800-838-8238.

The new study investigating economic abuse was conducted by the Allstate Foundation. Their online program to empower victims and help them achieve financial independence can be found at
www.clicktoempower.org. For more information contact the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance at Aries Keck, Public News Service - VA