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Breaking Glass

Financial knowledge can help women fight back against domestic violence

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According to statistics provided by Safe Horizon and the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, 25 percent of women will experience domestic violence during their lifetimes.

Adults and children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to suffer severe health and behavioral issues.

And domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families.

For those of you questioning whether or not this is a “women-in-business” issue, first consider all the money spent on legal fees, health care and unemployment each year — and then think of your colleagues.

One in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.

One out of every four women is being socially and financially isolated from everyone other than her abuser.

One out of every four women — regardless of social or economic success — has had her credit destroyed or access to her money denied.

And one out of every four women has considered her financial situation a factor in whether or not to leave her abuser.

Women now make up half the workforce — meaning a little over 12 percent of the current U.S. workforce is also dealing with domestic violence in addition to their careers.

That’s why Rutgers University’s School of Social Work has conducted a study to prove how financial education can help those living with domestic violence gain the economic stability needed to leave.

The study reached out to 457 respondents from seven states and Puerto Rico that had previously participated in the “Moving Ahead Through Financial Management” curriculum developed by The Allstate Foundation and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

In addition to helping domestic violence survivors feel empowered about their finances, the curriculum also has taught nearly 400,000 nationwide how to disentangle financial relationships with an abusive partner, correct misuses of financial records and address safety concerns.

After completing the program:

  • 86 percent felt they knew how to set financial goals.

  • 90 percent felt they learned how to create a budget, with 31 percent seeing a financial increase after implementing one.

  • 72 percent felt they understood how to improve their credit rating, compared with 20 percent pre-curriculum.

  • 71 percent felt they could wisely invest in savings through bonds, mutual funds, and stocks, compared with 17 percent pre-curriculum.

  • 18 percent started using a bank account.

The numbers derived from the Rutgers study therefore not only stress the importance of financial education for women in business, but women in general — as well as the continued need for women to support women in whatever trial they are facing today, both in and out of the business world.

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