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KY Abuse Survivors Get Help with "Financial Empowerment"

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Victims of domestic violence often leave abusive situations strapped by debt and bad credit. (Pixabay)
Victims of domestic violence often leave abusive situations strapped by debt and bad credit. (Pixabay)
 By Mary KuhlmanContact
May 29, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Some financial specialists are helping survivors of partner abuse in Kentucky learn the power of financial fitness – and how to achieve it.

The Allstate Foundation is partnering with the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence to provide financial education classes at shelters around the state.

Stacey Walden, a senior public education specialist and community counselor at the Women's Crisis Center Northern Kentucky, says agents offer one-on-one sessions with their clients.

She explains financial control by an abusive partner can make it difficult for a person to leave.

"It's hard to start a new life chapter when you have bad credit or extra debt,” Walden points out. “So, can we provide skills for individuals to be financially independent after leaving their abuser?"

Most clients of shelters are female, have children and earn less than $15,000 a year. Walden adds they often don't know much about personal finance and are often challenged by debt, bad credit and few assets.

Agents are working with clients on short-term goals, such as budgeting or purchasing insurance, and long-term goals, like saving for a car or house.

Through the partnership, shelters also are eligible for a grant for additional client services.

Walden says the Women's Crisis Center Northern Kentucky is using the money for a program to help survivors and their children.

"We're going to be creating this 'Mommy and Me' series for the summer, of a camp that kind of focuses on fun summer activities that they normally wouldn't be able to afford,” she states. “And also looking at risk and protective factors, like how do we prevent this children from experiencing violence?"

In 2017, about 19,000 domestic violence victims sought safety, services and encouragement from Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence shelters to help start a new life.

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