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Replenishing Emergency Fund for Domestic Violence Survivors

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With financial abuse as part of almost all domestic violence cases, Kentucky's network of shelters is replenishing its emergency fund to help survivors regain financial independence. (Greg Stotelmyer)
With financial abuse as part of almost all domestic violence cases, Kentucky's network of shelters is replenishing its emergency fund to help survivors regain financial independence. (Greg Stotelmyer)
October 10, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence is counting on a nationwide fundraiser to help refill the emergency fund that its 15 domestic violence shelters use to help survivors leave an abusive partner.

While people often think about physical abuse when it comes to domestic violence, the Allstate Foundation's Purple Purse Challenge focuses on addressing the financial aspects.

Michelle Williams, the Coalition’s AmeriCorps Program administrator, says finances are often the biggest obstacle survivors face when they seek services from a shelter.

"They're coming with no money, some debt, very little assets to their name,” she explains. “And that's why it's scary to leave a lot of times, because they're like, 'I don't have anything when I leave here.'"

Experts say financial abuse occurs in all but 1 percent of domestic violence cases.

Williams says the goal is to raise $15,000 for the emergency fund – money she says that can help survivors with a down payment on a safe place to live, or transportation so they can work or go to school.

LaKisha Torian of Hopkinsville says emergency funds helped her pay her car insurance, which is essential because she works and goes to college.

"If I didn't have it, possibly you could get your car taken away, or getting pulled over and getting a $1,500 fine, and stuff like that,” she states. “So, they helped me in that way, to keep my car, and that helped me to be able to come to school."

Around 200 organizations across the country will benefit from this month's Purple Purse Challenge.

As Williams explains, the fundraiser's title has special meaning.

"Purple is the color of domestic violence awareness,” she says. “The purse represents a woman's financial domain. That's where she's keeping her wallet, her credit cards, all of her cash – all of those things that she has control over."

Donations to the fund can be made online at kcadv.org.



Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY